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A recent issue of Forbes examined the mistakes many celebrities have made in their estate plans (or lack thereof) that caused plenty of pain and suffering for their families and their estates. Here is the list of those celebrity mistakes and what we can learn from them:

Warren Burger – the former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court tried to write his own will, and his estate wound up with a substantial amount of estate tax liability. Burger should have worked with a qualified estate planning attorney to minimize the impact of estate taxes.

Michael Jackson – the King of Pop executed a pour-over will that placed all his assets in a trust, but he neglected to fund the trust with those assets. His family continues to battle in court over his assets.

Heath Ledger – the actor neglected to update his will following the birth of his daughter, so all his assets went to his parents and siblings. Wills should always be updated following a major life event like the birth of a child, a marriage, a divorce, etc.

Leona Helmsley – the well-known New York hotelier left the majority of her $12 million estate to her dog. Her grandchildren contested the validity of the will, claiming mental incompetence. If you intend to leave an unusual bequest, you should consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure your wishes cannot be challenged due to mental incompetence.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0042.