Celebrity Wills – What do James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Anna Nicole Smith, Robin Williams and Gary Coleman all have in common?
All of the Wills left behind by these Celebrities were contested and challenged! Families, ex-wives, sibling rivalry… nothing is off limits! But when it comes down to it, isn’t there a bit of celebrity in all families?
In the case of Jimi Hendrix, who died in 1970, the challenge to gain access to his Estate lasted over thirteen years. The saga began when Jimi died without a Will. Under the laws of England his $80 million Estate passed to his father. When Jimi’s father died in 2002 he left everything to his adopted daughter (and Jimi’s adopted sister) Janie. Nothing was left to his son (Jimi’s brother) Leon.
In 2007 Leon challenged his father’s Will and lost. After losing the Will challenge, Leon and his business partner started selling Jimi Hendrix merchandise without having a licence to use the registered trademarks. In 2009 Janie, his adopted sister, took Leon and his business partner to Court for unlicensed use of a registered trade mark. After a long six year battle with millions spent on legal fees Janie was successful in stopping Leon and his business partner using the Jimi Hendrix trademarks.
In a more recent and public Celebrity Will challenge, it was Robin Williams third wife who challenged his Will. In Robin’s Will he had left the majority of his $100 million Estate to be divided between his three children. He left his third wife the right to continue to live in their residential home in California and enough funds to maintain the property. She disputed this and claimed that the property should be hers. We will never know the outcome of this dispute because Robin’s children and his third wife settled the matter confidentially.
You don’t have to be a Celebrity to be vulnerable to a Will challenge! The best way to protect your Estate from attack after you die, is to ensure that you have a legally binding Will and that your family is aware of how you wish your Estate to be divided. In particular, if you want to leave someone out of your Will, you can ensure that the reasons for doing so are clear and legitimate, which makes it extremely difficult for that person to challenge your Will after you are gone.
If you need advice on drafting your Will to avoid a Challenge to your Will after you pass, you need to seek legal advice from an expert Wills & Estates Lawyer. You need to speak to the expert lawyers at Sydney Wills Lawyers, on how to successfully draft a Will that minimises the potential for a Will Challenge.
If you want to challenge or dispute a Will, because you have been left out of a Will, today to ask about our “No Win No Fee” procedures on 9221 2779.