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What Five Oscar Winners Can Teach Us About Estate Planning: Elizabeth Taylor

by Norris Law Group on December 2, 2014

640px-Taylor,_Elizabeth_posed_150Elizabeth Taylor is still with us in many ways—you may even have seen her featured on a commercial for her “White Diamonds” perfume line. The commercials still run to this day, although she left us in 2011. It may seem that actors like Dame Elizabeth Taylor will live forever, but like all of us, they are indeed mortal. Authors Danielle and Andy Mayoras write about five estate planning scenarios of five Oscar winners in an article for Forbes magazine.

Elizabeth Taylor, Best Actress Oscars for Butterfield 8 (1961) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1967)

Elizabeth Taylor was not only known for her long movie career, but also for her multiple marriages, and business acumen. She also deserves credit for devising a solid estate plan.  The administration of Taylor’s estate was very peaceful, despite speculation that Taylor’s family may have had disagreements about it. Taylor’s estate avoided probate, there were no court battles over it, and no copies of her will were ever published on the web.

Little is known about Elizabeth Taylor’s estate.  But it is public knowledge that she created the Elizabeth Taylor Trust and funded it with her personal assets such as the rights to manage her name, likeness and image after her passing.  We also know that Larry Fortensky, her eighth (and last) husband, received approximately $800,000 because he chose to share the information in the London Daily Mail during an interview.  Unconfirmed reports state that Taylor left most of her assets to her children, grandchildren, and her favored charities (including AIDS research). Such information, however, has never officially been made public.

Taylor’s estate is shrouded in secrecy, and it appears this is how she wanted it. All wills are a matter of public record, and anyone can read them once they have been released.  But revocable living trusts are private and are not subject to the probate system.  Trusts are also far less expensive to administer and typically do not require oversight by a court.

Danielle and Andy Mayoras suggest that in addition to her two Academy Awards, Taylor should also be recognized for the “Best Use of a Revocable Living Trust.”

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County, UT and throughout Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and California. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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