This Year – Be More Like Joan Rivers and not PSH

Union County Estate Planning
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This Year – Be like Joan Rivers and not Philip Seymour Hoffman

As we usher in 2015, let’s do a quick recap of popular celebrity Wills and Estate Plans from 2014 so we can learn from the good plans and try to avoid the bad ones.

Joan Rivers (the good) passed away in September, and her careful estate planning allowed her daughter Melissa to avoid hefty estate taxes and terminate life support pursuant to Joan’s written wishes.  Thankfully, because Joan had created powers of attorney, living wills, and other important estate planning documents, Melissa was able to mitigate her mother’s tragic death without going to court.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (the bad) infamously ignored the advice of estate planners in order to ensure his children would not become “trust fund kids.”  Instead, Hoffman left all of his money to their mother (to whom he was not married).  After his unexpected death in February, Hoffman’s estate planning created an enormous estate tax bill that could have been mitigated with proper planning.

The events surrounding Casey Kasem’s sickness and eventual death turned a private matter into disturbing family drama (the ugly). I grew up listening to Kasem every Sunday morning on America’s Top 40, and I was particularly upset as to how Kasem’s family treated him at the end of his life. Perhaps Kasem’s estate planning documents could have been drafted to minimize the drama that unfolded on live TV.

If you require assistance with your Will or Estate Planning in Union County, New Jersey, please contact me at or call 908-­236­-6457 at your convenience. Happy New Year!

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