Mick Jagger’s Estate Planning Lesson

With a black silk scarf and a Will executed in California, New York designer L’Wren Scott passed away in March. What she left behind goes to Mick Jagger—at the moment.

Raised by adoptive parents in Utah, Ms. Scott, originally Lauren Bambrough, left for Paris after high school. At a statuesque height of six feet, Ms. Scott turned to styling after modeling. Her success as a stylist led to a designing career. In 2001, Ms. Scott began a long-term relationship with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger.

Amidst rumors of an end to her relationship with Mr. Jagger and a business downturn, Ms. Scott committed suicide in New York on March 17.

The Will

The Will executed by Ms. Scott is both moving and instructive. Consider these points:

  • Mr. Jagger has a fortune reportedly over $300 million. Ms. Scott was worth approximately $9 million. Only Mr. Jagger and Ms. Scott know the true state of their relationship at the time of her death. On her death, Ms. Scott left Mr. Jagger the entirety of her estate and possessions.
  • By choosing to transfer her estate solely through a Will, Ms. Scott left loose ends. Had she created a trust, estate assets could have flowed to Mr. Jagger privately, providing him protection from legal scrutiny and applicable estate taxes.
  • The simple manner by which Ms. Scott disinherited her siblings leaves the Will open to challenge. The attorney who prepared the Will for Ms. Scott reportedly focuses in real estate and business law. Media reports note the attorney did not witness Ms. Scott execute the Will. Completed in May, 2013, less than a year before she committed suicide, the mental state of Ms. Scott could be legally questioned. Ms. Scott clearly intended to disinherit her two adoptive siblings. While Ms. Scott had not spoken to her sister in approximately six years, her brother was co-director of her company.

If potential heirs of Ms. Scott challenge her Will, and it is declared invalid, Ms. Scott can be considered to have died intestate. As a resident of New York, her financial largesse would likely be divided by state statute between her brother and sister, with nothing to Mr. Jagger.

Despite her financially troubled business and rumored relationship difficulties, Ms. Scott was a wealthy, resourceful woman. The reasons for her suicide and the reasoning behind her Will remain unclear.

When preparing a Will, it’s best to think through any and all scenarios to ensure there are no Will contests.  If, unfortunately, there is a challenge to a Will, it’s best to be as clear as possible to ensure your intentions are carried out to the fullest extent possible.

If you or your clients have questions about Wills or Wills contests, please call me at (908) 236-6457 or email me at Alec@BMCEstatePlanning.com.. Thanks for reading our second BMC newsletter, we look forward to serving you.

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