Monday, October 10, 2011

Tony Curtis' Estate Plan

Recently I was reading a Forbes' article on the brewing family dispute in the estate of Tony Curtis. Apparently he changed his will several months before his death, and in that change left everything to his 5th wife and explicitly stated he was leaving nothing to his five children. That fact does not shock me, I have clients who do the exact same thing. It is relatively common in blended families. What shocks me is Mr. Curtis was either not advised or did not take the advice of his attorney to explain why they were not mentioned in the will. Would an explanation have prevented the brewing arguments in court that his will was changed under duress or fraud? Maybe not, but possibly. Parents are not required to leave anything to children, and stating why can go along way. If not, emotions will run high. Especially when the 5th wife auctions off hundreds of personal items, and gives none to the children.

A blog is not a replacement for an attorney. And if you hire an attorney, you may not like what they suggest (i.e. writing a letter of explanation) but it usually is given with the intent to minimize family feuds.

No comments: