I find celebrity estates interesting because they often mess things up much worse than us mere mortals. However, it also is a good reminder that they are humans too!
I wrote recently about Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys and his handwritten changes to his will. Other celebrities have left similar, or worse, handwritten wills. If memory serves Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and also a US Supreme Court justice both left handwritten wills. Mr. Yauch’s was just partially handwritten… one phrase… and that phrase will likely cause years of litigation.
In any event today I am writing about the part of his will written by his lawyer. Clearly he and his wife did not see eye-to-eye on who should be guardian of their children. If the second death, between he and his wife, happened in an even year his parents were first choice to be guardian of the kids. On the other hand if the death was in an odd year then her parents were first choice for guardian. Sure it’s possible there was some good luck type thing involved but I think it was just a straight compromise.
Really it’s a great compromise. Why fight about it!? Just come up with a unique agreement! I like to think I am a creative estate planning attorney but I have never thought of this one before. However, I am sure I will have the opportunity to use it before long with some young couple!
When you get your will in place make sure you have guardians named for your minor children. Also it’s a good idea to have a living trust or testamentary trust to protect their assets. If you aren’t sure what to do please hire an experienced estate planning attorney.