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[...]
Even today, almost 12 years after she died, you only have to say the words “Queen of Mean” to know we’re talking about the late billionaire heiress, Leona Helmsley.
She was known to the public for her excessive thriftiness and unwillingness to pay contractors, but she is also remembered for having served 19 months in prison for tax evasion. Ironically, while she was a social pariah and much vilified in the press, most people don’t recall that she had a soft spot for animals. Indeed, when she died in 2007 at the age of 87, she left a $12 million trust fund to her Maltese dog named Trouble. Little did she know that Trouble’s bequest would open her estate up to even more trouble.
When people make unusual bequests, such as leavi[...]
This is Mike Hackard from Hackard Law. We are a California Law firm that focuses on representing heirs and beneficiaries in California estate, trust and elder financial abuse litigation.
Celebrities are not immune when it comes to estate fights - John Lennon, the world-famous musician and member of The Beatles, is a classic example. John left the Beatles, and he also left his first marriage and his son from the marriage, Julian Lennon. It’s said that Paul McCartney wrote “Hey Jude” in 1968 to cheer up Julian, then five, during his parents’ divorce. McCartney described it in part as a message of “I know you’re not happy, but it’ll be OK.”
Just 12 years later, John Lennon was gunned down, and Lennon’s family members we[...]
On March 1st, my new book, Alzheimer’s, Widowed Stepmothers & Estate Crimes, will be published and available on Amazon. One of the central themes of my new book is that cognitive decline is a leading cause of estate battles. In many cases, it is the contributing factor to elder financial abuse. When seniors have Alzheimer’s or Lewy Body Dementia, they are at their most vulnerable, and it falls to their families to sort out the shambles of their estates.
Nowhere was this more true than in the case of the late, great actor Marlon Brando. We remember him now mostly for his iconic portrayal of Don Vito Corleone, the unforgettable Godfather in the movie by Francis Ford Coppola. In a career that spanned more than 60 years, he was far m[...]
Unless you’re from Santa Barbara, you may not know the name Huguette Clark. She was the reclusive heiress to a $300 million copper and railroad fortune amassed by her father, W.A. Clark, a former US Senator from Montana who also held the distinction of being the founder of the city of Las Vegas. When Clark died in 2011 at the age of 104, she created by will the Bellosguardo Foundation, whose purpose was to foster the arts by displaying her art collection at her massive $85 million, 23 ½ acre summer home in Santa Barbara.
Clark’s first Will was written when she was 98, and in that document, she left her estate to distant relatives and her private nurse. 42 days later, however, she signed a second Will that disinherited her family mem[...]