3 Celebrity Probate Disasters and Tragic Lessons


With extreme wealth accumulated, one would assume that celebrities would take steps to protect their estates. But think again: Some of the world’s richest and most famous people enter the pearly gates with no estate plan in place, while others have made estate planning mistakes that tied their fortunes and heirs up for years in court. Let’s take a look at three high-profile celebrity probate disasters and discover what lessons we can learn from them.

1. Tom Carvel, The Ice Cream Man

As the man who invented soft-serve ice cream and established the first franchise business in America, Tom Carvel had a net worth of up to $200 million when he died in 1990.

Lesson learned: “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Your trustee and executor may have to make tough decisions. Consider naming executors and trustees who have no financial interest in your estate to reduce the risk of favoritism. Also, consider having only a single trustee and executor rather than a committee.

2. Jimi Hendrix, The Guitarist

Passing away tragically at age 27, rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix left no will.

Lesson learned: When you don’t leave a comprehensive estate plan, the conflict can last for generations. Even if you’re not a celebrity, we can put your wishes in writing so they are carried out after your death rather than opening a door to costly conflict.

3. Prince, The Musical Genius

The court battle waging over Prince’s estate is a probate disaster.

Lesson learned: Accurate legal documentation protects your legacy. Don’t let a general distrust or a bad experience propagate through the generations and leave your heirs to fight and potentially lose their inheritance.

These celebrity probate disasters serve as stark reminders that no one’s wealth is exempt from the legal trouble that can occur without proper estate planning. As always, we are here to help you protect your family and legacy. Give us a call today to discuss protecting your assets and your family.