Elder Law Resources:

Trial and Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights


Andrew Mayoras & Danielle Mayoras. Trial and Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights. Wise Circle Books. Long Beach, CA. 2009. 277 pages. $19.95 from Amazon (click on book to order).

Can we learn anything about estate planning from Jimi Hendrix, Princess Di, and Sonny Bono? Yes! Written by a husband-and-wife attorney team, Trial and Heirs uses fascinating celebrity cases as examples to illustrate important estate planning basics.

The story of the protracted battle over Jimi Hendrix’s estate is employed to explain the importance of having a will. Heath Ledger is used as an example of the need to keep an estate plan up-to-date. Challenges to Marlon Brando’s estate illustrate how disputes over assets get started. With these cases and many others as backdrop, the authors discuss the basics of wills, trusts, will contests, asset disputes, and estate administration.

The authors, who also write a blog about celebrity disputes (http://blog.trialandheirs.com/), stress how proper estate planning can help to avoid fights among family members. Each celebrity example includes an explanation of what could have been done differently. In addition, each chapter provides practical tips to “spark family discussion.” Trial and Heirs is an entertaining way to learn the basics of estate planning.