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Lessons Learned From Farrah Fawcett's Estate

 Posted on January 29, 2014 in Estate Planning

The deaths of celebrities often have important lessons for estate planning. Failing to consider your estate in full can have ramifications for the beneficiaries and it can also mean that your intentions might not be carried out the way you thought after you have passed away. If you would like a review of your existing estate planning documents or if you would like to have a comprehensive evaluation of your needs, contact an Illinois estate planning attorney today.

Farah Fawcett estate IMAGE

When Farrah Fawcett passed away, her partner, Ryan O'Neal, took an Andy Warhol painting from her home, alleging that it was his. The University of Texas sued O'Neal because Fawcett's revocable living trust outlined that all her artwork was to be given to the school. There were two copies of the painting in question, and the University of Texas had already received one of them, but this didn't stop them from pursuing O'Neal for the other copy. Ultimately, O'Neal won the rights to keep the painting, and he stated that he plans to leave the painting for the child he had with Fawcett.

Fawcett's estate illustrates just how easy it is to become confused by intentions with documents. When there are multiple copies of an item, or when estate planning documents don't clearly identify particular items for another person to have, this can initiate arguments with other family members or even third parties, like Fawcett's case. One way to combat potential arguments in the future is to outline your plans clearly within your will or your trust, making it clear the exact intent of your plans. When there is little ambiguity, there's less arguments surrounding intention and a greater likelihood that your beneficiary can receive the items or assets that you want without the trauma of engaging in legal battles.

If you would like to set up a trust or will that clearly outlines your wishes, contact an Illinois estate planning attorney today.

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