The 5 biggest celebrity estate planning disasters

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2021 | Estate Planning

Celebrities may seem larger than life, but they’re not above making mistakes that impact their loved ones after they pass away. There have been dozens of celebrities who have passed without good estate plans in place, and the issues that arose as a result flooded the media.

Out of those, there are five major estate planning disasters that others can learn from. Here is a little about each of them.

  1. Sonny Bono

When Sonny Bono passed away after a skiing accident, he had no will. At the time, his second wife, Cher, filed a claim against the estate for $1.6 million in unpaid spousal support. Another person, allegedly an illegitimate child, also made a claim. Lawsuits built against the estate, dragging out the case for years.

  1. Prince

When Prince passed away, his estate was valued at approximately $200 million. That money could be passed on to his heirs, but to do that, the executor of the estate and Internal Revenue Service have to agree on how much the estate is worth. The estate has been in a log-fought battle with the IRS over the true value of the estate, so it hasn’t been distributed yet.

  1. Paul Walker

When Paul Walker passed in a car crash, he was just 40 years old. Surprisingly, the actor did have a trust, will and around $25 million in assets. Unfortunately, that plan had not been updated in around 12 years, so executing the estate took much longer due to valuation concerns.

  1. Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman did not have a trust for his children. Instead, he left everything to the mother of his children, but this created a massive tax bill on his $34 million estate. Some simple estate planning techniques, such as creating trust funds, could have helped avoid those taxes.

  1. Casey Kasem

When Casey Kasem passed away, it took almost six months for his burial to happen. This is because his family actually fought over what should happen to his body. Contests over the man’s life insurance, body and other aspects of the estate might have been avoided with other planning techniques.

These are five of the most significant estate planning disasters among celebrities. Your estate doesn’t have to have these issues. Simple estate planning techniques can make all the difference in helping your family resolve your estate easily following your passing.