Celebrity Estates Without a Will:
It is estimated that somewhere between 50%-65% of the adult population does not have an established will determining the divisions of the estate and or outlines of beneficiaries. Many celebrities are amongst the adults that do not have an established last will and testament and in some cases many celebrities have died before they are able to establish a will. In most celebrity estates, following the death of a celebrity without a will, legal disputes arise in an attempt to determine who the rightful beneficiaries of the estate are and how the estate should be divided. Conflicts can arise amongst family members and other possible beneficiaries which creating turmoil as the estates become a physical fight for money fueled by greed and control. Celebrities that died without an estate include celebrities from all walks of life, musicians, artist, sports professionals, wealthy eccentrics, Nobel peace prize winners, and even presidents. The following is a list of celebrities that died without a will and their estates are famous for having conflict due to the absence of an established will, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, Jimi Hendrix, Howard Hughes, Bob Marley, Kurt Cobain, Steve McNair, and Amy Winehouse.
Why is it Important to Establish a Will if you are a Celebrity?
Celebrities are well known for living complex lives with, families, external relationships, unique community and charity ties, personalized goals and missions, as well as invested interest in the subject of their fame; whether it’s their music, art, image, name, films, speeches, lyrics, sports affiliation, etc. This makes it necessary for these individuals to determine how their property and estate rights are distributed and which individuals they are distributed to. Outlining your final wishes in these regards prevents non- beneficiaries’ from claiming property intended for loved ones and out lines any beneficiaries’ that may not have familial ties; such as an agent, best-friend, boy-friend/girl-friend, illegitimate children, etc. This will ensure that your estate falls into the right hands and that any persons you wish to be excluded from your estate dispersal will not be able to benefit from your estate. A will can also determine if any proceeds of your estate will continue to benefit a charity or organization that the individual feels a connection or invested interest.
Most celebrities, with a will, following their death will list an organization as a beneficiary to carry on their image and dedication for a particular cause. Without a will these types of charities will be excluded from proceeds of an estate and any donations would be at the will of family members. Wills can also determine the rights to works by the celebrity and can place certain restrictions on particular items as well as determine the rightful inheritor of such property. Without a will family members will typically dispute over the rights to memorabilia or other affiliations which can ruin familial ties and cause significant hardships between individuals in the legal system. Lastly, a will determines what a person may like as for particular burial or cremation arrangements. Celebrities may wish for their burial arrangements to be made in a particular way to pay respects back to their fans and make it possible for individuals who respect their work to memorialize them. For example a celebrity may choose to be buried in a celebrity cemetery rather than a family plot or vice versa.
How Can a Celebrity Establish a Will?
A celebrity files for a will like the common person by determining how the estate should be divided and outlining their final wishes in the form of a legal document. The explicitly outlined document is then filed with the probate court in the county in which they reside. A celebrity will however should be longer and more explicit in regards to divisions the estate to prevent divisions against the celebrity’s wishes. Most celebrities need for an attorney or estate planner to manage the detailed language of a will document to outline all of their specific interest within the document. If you are a celebrity or entertainer and are in need of establishing a will then you should contact an attorney to assist you in formulating the specific language of your interest.