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[...]
James Brown, the singer-songwriter, producer and so-called “Godfather of Soul” in a career that spanned 50 years, died on Christmas Day, 2006, almost exactly 12 years ago.
We wrote about Brown’s case on the Hackard Law Blog more than four years ago, and yet, surprisingly, his estate remains unsettled.
Like a lot of celebrities we’ve profiled, Brown’s personal life was complicated, which led to a messy estate. To this day, despite having amassed a fortune estimated at between $50 and $100 million, most of his beneficiaries have received nothing. The question you may be asking is, how could such a thing happen?
What’s interesting about the Brown case is that it demonstrates how even when someone is very specific about beq[...]
Country music legend Glen Campbell, author of hits like Wichita Lineman and Rhinestone Cowboy, lived a long and fruitful 81 years. At the time of his passing away from Alzheimer’s disease in August of 2017, he would leave behind some 60 studio albums as well as eight children from four different marriages. With royalties included, his estate has been estimated to reach a scale of $50 million, seemingly more than enough for all beneficiaries.
There was just one problem, though – Campbell disinherited three of his eight children in his 13-page will from 2006. For reasons unknown to the public, the country star specifically excluded daughter Kelli Campbell and sons William and Wesley Campbell from any sort of inheritance. Campbell desig[...]
Earlier this year, I related the story of Stan Lee, the iconic creator of such comic book heroes as the Hulk, Doctor Strange, and the Fantastic Four. As you may already have heard, Lee passed away recently at the age of 95.
Unfortunately for Lee, the last year of his life was probably not the happy ending we might have all hoped for him. As I noted in my earlier video, Lee had a falling out with his 67-year old daughter, JC, which prompted him to change the terms of his trust. That act, in turn, led to a series of events that turned Lee’s final year upside down.
First, a business partner of Lee’s daughter became Stan Lee’s “Senior Adviser” which allowed him to control Lee’s medical and legal matters. That, in turn, started[...]
Walt Disney is one of the most celebrated and successful entrepreneurs of the 20th Century and a man whose vision continues to delight families around the world through his Disney Theme Parks and Movies. Disney himself was a scrappy and colorful animator, film producer, voice actor, and corporate leader who may have become more celebrated and appreciated since his death in 1966 than he was while he was alive.
Despite many setbacks during his career and big gambles on films and theme parks that could easily have gone the wrong way, Disney managed to leave behind a significant fortune, mostly in the form of Walt Disney company stock which some have estimated was worth $100 Million when he died.
Unfortunately for several of Disney’s gr[...]
Before he died of a heart attack while attending a drug treatment facility in August 1995, Jerry Garcia, lead guitarist of the Grateful Dead rock band, was already a legend. Thousands of fans, known as “Deadheads,” followed Garcia and his bandmates to concerts around the world. Included among them were such celebrities as John Belushi, Jimmy Buffett, Al Gore, Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, and even the unlikely iconic newsman Walter Cronkite.
Garcia and his band ushered in an era of social and environmental activism that remains with us today.
Jerry Garcia lived hard and died broke, according to his lawyer, but that didn’t keep him from bequeathing large sums of money he didn’t have. Between Garcia’s bohemian lifestyle, multiple [...]