When "The Godfather of Soul," James Brown, died in 2006, he was 73, and he had entertained music fans in California and beyond for decades. A woman at least 30 years younger than Brown says she was legally his wife at the time of his death and, therefore, should be entitled to at least 50 percent of the interests in his music. She has also asserted that Brown merely forgot to update his final will and testament, and that is why she and the son they had together are not mentioned as heirs or beneficiaries in the document.
Hollywood fans in California and the world over recently mourned the unexpected passing of film superstar, Burt Reynolds. On a recent Monday in another state, Reynolds' final will was filed in court. News regarding the filing included some surprising details about inheritance.
A 79-year-old man built a lasting legacy with more than 100 commercial truck centers throughout 22 states, including California. W. Marvin Rush, II, was the founder of the largest truck chain on the North American continent. When the stock market closed for the day on a recent Friday, shares for Rush Enterprises were worth nearly $74 million. W. M. Rush, III, the decedent's son, as well as his third wife (his son's stepmother) are fighting over the shares, each referencing wills the decedent is said to have signed.
If you're one of many California residents who do not really like to talk about their own mortality, count yourself among a likely majority. However, when it comes to estate planning, not talking about it can lead to problems for your potential heirs and beneficiaries after you die. Several big-ticket Hollywood stars have passed away in recent years without leaving final wills and testaments.
California baby boomers may be among those who remember watching TV news clips about astronaut Buzz Aldrin and his fellow space team members as they landed on the moon. Aldrin is living out his elder years at this time, which have sadly been negatively affected by a contentious battle with his intended heirs, specifically, one of his sons and his daughter. The two adult children say their father is mentally incapacitated and have therefore petitioned the court to appoint them as legal guardians.
Fans in California and around the world mourned the loss of country music great Glen Campbell following his courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease. A battle of another kind, however, has arisen after his death. Several of his older children have filed a lawsuit, requesting that the court recognize them as rightful heirs to a portion of their father's estate.
California estate owners and future beneficiaries may want to pay close attention to a particular probate battle as it unfolds in court. The situation involves an adult child of the now-deceased former CEO of Bendix Corporation, William M. Agee, who is fighting her stepmother over her father's estate. The stepmother, Mary Cunningham Agee, claims her husband was no longer in his right mind when he reportedly changed his estate plan weeks before his death to give his daughter power of attorney.
It's understandable that California business owners and others who worked long and hard to get their companies off the ground are concerned about the future -- namely, how to protect the legacies they've worked so hard to build. Many prudent business owners also think ahead, knowing there will come a time when they are deceased or no longer able to head their companies due to mental or physical decline. Executing a solid business succession plan ahead of time and working it into an estate plan may be the best means for protecting assets and ensuring the continuation of a business.
The music and entertainment world in California and around the globe was rocked to its core when several pop superstars suffered untimely deaths. Prince, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston were central figures in the pop music industry for most of their careers. In addition to remembering them for the international impact they made with their musical talents, many people now mention their names when discussing major estate planning errors to avoid.
There are many family-run businesses in California and throughout the nation. Astute business owners understand the importance of thorough estate planning, especially when it comes to executing business succession plans. This can be a tricky process because many family-run businesses include several adult children who may not agree on or be capable of managing the company in question.