Everyone should have a will, but it may shock you that some famous people failed to make one. If you die without a will, state laws will control who gets what from your estate, and it could take many years to resolve in court. Today on the blog, Davidson Law Group talks about some celebrities who died without a will and what happened to their estates.
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An American business magnate, Howard Hughes died in 1976 at the age of 70. Although he was physically declining later in his life, he never made a valid will. A handwritten will appeared in Salt Lake City at the Mormon Church headquarters, but a jury later determined that it was a forgery. Eventually, in 1983, his massive $2.5 billion estate was distributed among 22 cousins.
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Despite his short career, Jimi Hendrix is viewed as one of the most influential guitarists in history. Sadly, he died in 1970 and left no will concerning the distribution of his estate. His father, Al, ended up with the estate, but he died in 2002. A long-lasting family dispute over Hendrix’ estate was settled in 2015 between his siblings. The estates of musicians often continue to make money after their deaths, which made the Hendrix situation more complicated.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Civil rights activist MLK Jr. was tragically assassinated in 1968. Surprisingly, he didn’t create a will, but his four children profited from his legacy. Dr. King’s children disagreed over whether to keep or sell his iconic personal Bible and Nobel Peace Prize medal. As of 2016, they had agreed to terminate their legal fight, but a decision had not been made. Earlier this year, Dr. King’s last home in Atlanta was sold to the National Park Foundation.
The lawyer and 16th President of the U.S. also did not make a will before he passed. In 1867, a couple of years after his assassination, Lincoln’s $110,300 estate was divided equally among his wife and two sons. It doesn’t sound like much, but the value of his estate would match a few million in today’s dollars. Abe Lincoln’s case reminds us that even the most celebrated presidents made mistakes, as he was the first president to die intestate.
Start Your Estate Plan Today
As depicted above, you’re never too young or too wealthy to have a will. It’s best to plan now instead of later, or you could leave a big predicament behind. If you reside in Texas and you’re looking to begin the estate planning process, contact the Davidson Law Group today. We have offices in Fort Worth, Allen, and Tyler, and our wills and trusts attorneys will be glad to assist you.