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What Five Oscar Winners Can Teach Us About Estate Planning: Marlon Brando

by Norris Law Group on December 5, 2014

What Five Oscar Winners Can Teach Us About Estate Planning: Marlon BrandoThis week, we have taken a look at the estate plans of five Academy Award winners, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Taylor, Heath Ledger, and Frank Sinatra. Today’s “star” is Marlon Brando. Some of these celebrities had very successful estate plans, and others had plans that could have included some further information. Danielle and Andy Mayoras write about the “estate plans of the stars” in an article they contributed to Forbes magazine in 2014.

Marlon Brando, Best Actor Oscars for On the Waterfront (1955) and The Godfather (1973)

Brando was known as a rebel throughout his storied career in Hollywood. He won two Oscars—one in 1955 for his portrayal of dock worker Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront and one in 1973 for the iconic role of mob boss Vito Corleone in The Godfather. But Brando turned down his second Academy Award in protest of how Native Americans are treated in the film industry.

While widely admired among his peers for his unconventional roles and decisions, Brando could have helped his family a great deal if he had followed a more conservative path in regard to his estate planning.

After his death in 2004, Brando’s estate was involved in dozens of lawsuits by 2009. These were largely due to ongoing questions about the intentions he expressed in his will and trust. A number of suits involved claims by current and former employee who said that Brando had promised them particular interests or assets, none of which were included in his formal estate plan.

The assumption that family will honor a loved one’s true wishes—even those that may have been expressed verbally—is a common error made by many people as they set up their estate planning. Marlon Brando’s estate could only be described as a “mess,” and went through a host of legal challenges.  Those suits eventually settled, with neither side ultimately happy with the results. A clear, concise estate plan can avoid problems such as these. Consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to learn more about the options available to you and your family.

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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