I’m Mike Hackard of Hackard Law. We litigate estate, trust, and elder financial disputes in California. We occasionally deal with celebrities, their children, or grandchildren.
Celebrity estates have issues that don’t commonly arise in other estates. Particularly, tax issues.
Celebrities aren’t strangers to the taxman. The Beatles’ 1966 “Taxman” is the Beatles’ first political statement made in their music. It’s understandable. As high earners, they were in the United Kingdom’s 95% supertax bracket.
Michael Jackson’s estate has its own war with the taxman. The dispute revolves around the value of Michael Jackson’s likeness and image at the time of his death.
Likeness and image is often the most lucrative as[...]
I’m Mike Hackard from Hackard Law. We work to be one of California’s leading trust and estate litigation law firms on behalf of beneficiaries.
Legendary newsman Larry King died in January of this year at the age of 89, and he managed to interview just about every celebrity, politician and anyone else of note over his 60-plus-year career. King’s personal life was also eventful – he was married eight times to seven women. He fathered five children.
With that kind of marital history, the chances of an estate fight rise dramatically. And sure enough, a month after his passing, Larry King’s seventh wife, Shawn Southwick-King, brought legal action in Los Angeles Superior Court to dispute King’s 2019 handwritten – or holographi[...]
Hi, I’m Mike Hackard. Let’s talk today about Sir Sean Connery, the Scottish-born actor celebrated for his iconic portrayal of 007 in the James Bond film series. Connery died recently at age 90, and his longtime wife Micheline Roquebrune has revealed that in his final months, he suffered from dementia.
Conditions of cognitive decline like dementia and Alzheimer’s affect over 5 million American seniors. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in our country, and its impacts are inevitably felt in our families and communities. At the root of many estate disputes is a wrongdoer’s exploitation of an elder suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Thankfully, it would seem that Connery already had an effective estate plan [...]
Hi, I’m Mike Hackard. I want to tell you about Chadwick Boseman, best known for his role as Black Panther, and his estate. Boseman was an action star beloved by fans, and now his family mourns his tragic passing.
But one fact stuck out to me as an estate attorney: Chadwick Boseman died without a will. His wife is now forced to file public documents to administer his estate.
Celebrities are exposed to the glare of publicity. We’ve helped some celebrities and their families avoid that glare. Irrevocable and revocable trusts can provide elements of privacy, asset protection, favorable tax opportunities, and a better asset management process during lifetime as well as after death. Copyright and royalty rights survive a celebrity’s d[...]
Peter Max is a countercultural icon, a painter whose art defined an era of rebellion, freedom, youth, and nonconformity. Because his psychedelic style was so recognizable, he became a wealthy celebrity artist in the 1980s who earned the right to be compared to other pop cultural artists of our time including Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Damien Hirst. His work appeared on cereal boxes, airplanes, postage stamps, and cruise ships.
Even though Peter Max became an extremely successful and wealthy artist, in the late 1990’s he ran into financial troubles and pled guilty to tax evasion. Those troubles ultimately led Max to partner with a company called Park West Gallery which sells art at auctions held on cruise ships including Royal Caribbe[...]
Despite rumors and numerous alleged sightings, Elvis Presley, the King of Rock N Roll, died in 1977. At the time of his death, Elvis’ only daughter, Lisa Marie, was only 9 years old, but she became the heir to his estate, worth in 1977 a relatively modest $5 million. It would have been much more but for Elvis’ penchant for bad business deals and a life of excess. According to Elvis’ will, Lisa Marie’s inheritance was kept in a Trust, known as the Promenade Trust, which through his ex-wife Priscilla’s stewardship grew to an estimated $100+ million when Lisa Marie gained control.
In the ensuing 12 years, the Promenade Trust owned Graceland as well as the royalty stream of Elvis Presley Enterprises. By then, Lisa Marie had been ma[...]
Estate taxes can easily eat up large percentages of a person’s assets, which is why the strategy of creating an irrevocable trust to transfer wealth from one generation to another is often a good idea. Here at Hackard Law, we often recommend the establishment of irrevocable trusts when we think it will be to the long-term benefit of our clients.
But like all such estate planning tools, there are pluses and minuses. Consider the case of Dr. Peter Bing, a doctor and philanthropist in Los Angeles who inherited a fortune from his father, Leo Bing, a hugely successful New York City real estate developer in the 1920s. By some accounts, Peter inherited a billion dollars from his father, and Peter’s son, Stephen, inherited $600 Million when [...]
Ray Charles was one of the greatest American singers, songwriters, and composers of the 20th Century.
Blind from the age of seven, by the time he died in 2004 at the age of 73 he was a towering figure in popular music for his many great performances and hits including the Grammy award-winning single “Georgia on My Mind.”
Charles was married only twice, but he fathered 12 children with ten different women, which led to complications in his estate planning. In 2002, as his health was failing, he brought his children together and announced that he was planning to leave most of his assets to the charitable foundation that he set up to support the deaf, the poor and youth.
Each child was to receive $500,000 that would be placed in t[...]
Tom Petty was an American original, a singer, a songwriter, an actor, and an instrumentalist who formed the iconic group Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1976. By the time of his death in 2017 at age 66 from of an accidental drug overdose, his music catalog was worth in the tens of millions.
Like many estates of successful rock ‘n roll musicians, Petty left behind an extended family: children from a first marriage, two daughters named Adria and Annakim, and a widowed stepmother named Dana.
My recent book, Alzheimer’s, Widowed Stepmothers & Estate Crimes, highlights some of the persistent issues between children of first marriages and widowed stepmothers.
Even in best case scenarios, widowed stepmothers and their stepchild[...]
In May 1968, I attend a Doors concert at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds. It is the third time I see The Doors. Jim Morrison is going downhill. Between songs he sites on the Santa Clara stage with a Jack Daniel’s bottle by his side.
Unfortunately, Morrison’s self-destructive behavior led to a premature death three years later at the age of 27 from what may have been a heroin overdose. Even today, there is no definitive cause of death listed for him – some believe it could have been congestive heart failure or a heart attack.
Either way, when he died, his net worth was a relatively modest $400,000. He was unmarried but had a common law wife named Pamela Courson, and in his will, he left everything to her.
As was typical of rock st[...]