Saturday, July 14, 2018

Will, Trust, and Net Worth Unknown

Reports of the net worth and estate plan of celebrity chef and television host, Anthony Bourdain, are being circulated in various media outlets. The reports state that Bourdain, who was estranged from his wife at the time of his death, left his $1.2 million estate to his 11 year old daughter. His estate supposedly consisted of $450K in bank accounts, $250K of household goods, and $500K of goodwill associated with his name. Other reports state that he had a trust for his daughter and his estranged wife is the trustee of the trust. Also, if his daughter pre-deceased him, his estate was to go to the nanny of his daughter.
Several points:
1. At the time of his suicide, Bourdain was reportedly worth $16 million which is 10X more than the value listed in the probate filings.
2. The value of personal property and celebrity goodwill are often overstated which means that Bourdain might only have been worth $450K at the time of his death, half of which would have gone to his estranged wife after the finalization of their divorce.
3. The trustee of the trust for his daughter was his estranged wife. I never have an estranged or former spouses control the funds for a child because the spouse could use the funds for himself/herself.
4. In spite of trusting his wife with the funds or his daughter, Bourdain must have disliked her immensely if he wanted his money to go to the daughter’s nanny if his daughter was not living.


Photo Credit:  Joe Brier for USA Today
License:  Fair Use/Education (in linked article)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

She Loved the Dough

Heather Mack is the “Body in a Suitcase” murderer who is serving time in a “notorious” Indonesian prison for killing her mother in 2015 in Bali and stuffing her body in a suitcase. The motive was money. A taxi driver who saw blood dripping from the suitcase notified authorities. Mack was sentenced to 10 years in prison. While in prison, she gave birth to a daughter, Stella, with whom she was pregnant at the time of her conviction.
The trustee of her mother’s trust refused to pay Mack her inheritance due to Illinois’ slayer statute. The trustee and Mack finally agreed that Mack’s daughter, Stella, will receive the $1.6 million instead. Despite her incarceration, Mack has been seen lounging around prison with her boyfriend while also posting photos on social media of herself in restaurants with her boyfriend.
Not much new ground to cover.
1. Slayer statutes prevent a murderer from financially benefitting from her crime.
2. My definition of “notorious” differs from that of others when prison involves having a boyfriend and going out to restaurants with him.
3. 10 years for murdering her mother? The Menendez brothers wish they had committed their crimes in Bali.


Photo Credit:  Instagram/thisischriswhite (from linked article)
License:  Fair Use/Education

Happy Fourth of July

Finally settled in after returning from a week in Portugal. Post to follow shortly.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Suspicious Minds

It has been a slow month for celebrity estate planning news. Lisa Marie Presley is embroiled in a lawsuit with her financial manager claiming he mismanaged her $100 million trust and left her with $14,000. She alleges that the manager sold 85% of her ownership in Elvis Presley Enterprises in 2005 for $100 million but invested most of the proceeds in the company which owned American Idol which filed for bankruptcy in 2016. She is also in the midst of a divorce from her fourth husband who is seeking $263,000 in annual alimony payments. She claims to owe $10 million in back taxes and $6 million in other debts.

Lots to digest.

1. The manager has countersued for $800K for unpaid investment fees. He alleges that Lisa Marie has a spending problem.

2. Allegedly, $20 million of the $100 million sales proceeds were used to pay off debts she had accumulated at the time.
3. Lisa Marie’s mother was concerned enough about her ability as a high school dropout to manage the inheritance that she was able to delay the distribution from Elvis’ trust until she turned 30.

4. Call it a hunch, but I suspect that Lisa Marie’s drug abuse, uncontrolled spending, and four marriages have as much to do with the financial straits as poor fiscal management.


Photo Credit:  Unknown
License:  Fair Use/Education (used in linked article)

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Long Blue Line

Jack graduated from St. Xavier last night. He will attend Ohio State's Fisher School of Business.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Mellon's Folly and the Infinite Sadness

Matthew Mellon was descended from the famous banking family. He died last month at the age of 54 after ingesting the hallucinogenic ayahuasca before starting rehab. At one time he had a $100K/month oxycontin habit.
When Mellon turned 21, he received a $25 million allowance from a family trust, one of 14 trusts established for him. He recently became a billionaire by investing in cryptocurrency. TMZ is reporting that his estate is now petitioning the probate court to authorize the sale of the cryptocurrency.
So many intersecting points in current events:
1. Someone should never give their child $25 million at the age of 21. Trusts can be created to defer an inheritance for as long as necessary.
2. In probate, assets can usually not be sold or transferred until the entire list of assets has been compiled which an take many months. With the decline in value of crytopcurrency, the estate wants to sell it before people realize its true value is likely zero.
3. Mellon might be the wealthiest victim of our tragic opioid crisis.
4. Following the lynching last month of a Canadian who moved to a Peruvian jungle to seek clarity through ayahuasca but somehow killed a shaman, Mellon is the second person whose newsworthy death can be attributed to it.
5. Ayahuasca is described as a sludgelike hallucinogenic potion used by indigenous shamans in spiritual exercises. I will take my drink inspired spiritual experiences through a nice fruit forward cabernet.


Photo Credit: Forbes/Ethan Pines
License: Fair Use/Education (article linked)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Make It Rain

Micky Liu is described as an HBO IT exec. When he died in 2015, he left his life insurance proceeds, and 401(k) plan balance and other retirement benefits to Veronica Beckham, a stripper he had met 9 months earlier. His sister contested the $223K left to Beckham alleging that Beckham (no relation to David) had seduced Liu. A court ruled against the sister on the grounds that the only person who could contest the beneficiary designation was Liu’s prior beneficiary, an ex-girlfriend.
A few minor points:
1. The court made the correct ruling because Liu had no presumption of leaving the benefits to his sister or any other family member.
2. Undue influence is more difficult to prove in a non-will matter than a will contest.
3. As a rule of thumb, women who hang with Snoop Dogg are not usually romantically interested in IT guys.  
4. $223K total benefits (including presumably 1X salary in life insurance)? The term “exec” has become as watered down as the term “porn star.”


Photo Credit:  Instagram
License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)