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Katherine Jackson’s shocking change of heart

The Michael Jackson Estate has been the subject of regular court hearings as Katherine Jackson battled for control over the last several months.  She routinely objected to the decisions of the co-executors John Branca and John McClain.  Recently, she hired a new attorney with the promise of taking the case in a new direction, as I discussed in this recent article about the Michael Jackson case .

Her case took a new direction, all right.  She decided to drop her claim.  That’s right, she stopped fighting and agreed to let the executors run the show without her. Surprised?  I was.  And I was far from the only one.  Here’s what a lawyer in the case said about Katherine Jackson’s change of heart, according to CNN: “She has now reneged on her obligation to her family.”  This same lawyer then said that it was “one of the most despicable displays” he’d ever seen in court.  He even accused Katherine of colluding with the estate executors in a “secret deal”. So who was this attorney representing?  None other than Joe Jackson — Katherine’s husband of 60 years.  Granted, they don’t live together, but obviously, he was taken aback about what happened. And Joe and his attorney

Read rest at: Katherine Jackson’s shocking change of heart

Posted by:  Author and probate attorney Andrew W. Mayoras, co-author of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights! and co-founder and shareholder of The Center for Probate Litigation and http://www.brmmlaw.com/ in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law.  You can email him at blog @ trialandheirs.com.

New Book To Help Avoid Celebrity Estate Planning Blunders

“Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!” Explores High-Profile Cases & Offers Expert Advice

New evidence coming in the Michael Jackson Estate case

The Michael Jackson probate dispute between his mother and his two executors has been active since it started this summer.  But it looks like it’s about to really get heated up. For starters, Katherine Jackson, Michael’s mother and a primary beneficiary (along with his children and unnamed charities), has been challenging decisions made by co-executors John Branca and John McClain on a regular basis.  She had asked for, and received, permission from the judge to allow her to challenge them based on conflict of interest and undue influence without jeopardizing her rights as a beneficiary under the “no contest clause” of Jackson’s will and trust. A “no contest clause” is a common provision than many people use in their wills and trusts to discourage family fighting.  It usually says that anyone who files a legal challenge and loses gives up their inheritance.  Katherine Jackson wanted to be free to challenge Branca and McClain without fear of losing her inheritance, and the judge allowed her to do so. So far, her challenge have been limited to objecting to certain decisions they make (such as the many business deals they’ve entered into on behalf of the Jackson Estate) and asking the judge to reduce …

The Michael Jackson probate dispute between his mother and his two executors has been active since it started this summer.  But it looks like it’s about to really get heated up.

For starters, Katherine Jackson, Michael’s mother and a primary beneficiary (along with his children and unnamed charities), has been challenging decisions made by co-executors John Branca and John McClain on a regular basis.  She had asked for, and received, permission from the judge to allow her to challenge them based on conflict of interest and undue influence without jeopardizing her rights as a beneficiary under the “no contest clause” of Jackson’s will and trust.

A “no contest clause” is a common provision than many people use in their wills and trusts to discourage family fighting.  It usually says that anyone who files a legal challenge and loses gives up their inheritance.  Katherine Jackson wanted to be free to challenge Branca and McClain without fear of losing her inheritance, and the judge allowed her to do so.

So far, her challenge have been limited to objecting to certain decisions they make (such as the many business deals they’ve entered into on behalf of the Jackson Estate) and asking the judge to reduce their legal authority.  The judge so far has allowed them to keep control and make decisions, including entering into business deals and deal with creditors without his approval, as long as Katherine didn’t object.  He also recently reiterated that Katherine Jackson is be kept informed.

But it seems this isn’t enough for Katherine.  Instead, she seems ready to ramp up her efforts.  Just a couple days ago, Katherine replaced her legal team with a new attorney, who has handled celebrity probate battles in the Anna Nicole Smith, Marlon Brando and James Brown cases.

One of the other attorneys representing Katherine says that this new probate lawyer was brought in because of “new evidence”.  This evidence must be important, for he also said, “The case is now moving in a different direction”.

So what is the new evidence?  Cnn.com and TMZ both said the new evidence questions the authenticity of Michael Jackson’s signature on the will.  Family members said that he was in New York when the will was supposed to have been signed, meaning he couldn’t possibly have signed it.

What do you think?  You can read Michael Jackson’s will here and see his signature for yourself.

Disputes over celebrity wills, trusts and estates can make for interesting reading.  But they can also be very helpul for those who don’t want their families to end up the same way.  Don’t let your heirs suffer from the same celebrity planning errors that happen time and time again.

Visit TrialAndHeirs.com to learn more how to use these celebrity stories to protect your family.

Posted by:  Author and probate attorney Andrew W. Mayoras, co-author of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights! and co-founder and shareholder of The Center for Probate Litigation and http://www.brmmlaw.com/ in metro-Detroit, Michigan, which concentrate in probate litigation, estate planning, and elder law.  You can email him at blog @ trialandheirs.com.

See more here:
New evidence coming in the Michael Jackson Estate case

Women Educating Women Miniseries

Smart Women’s Coaching’s Own Contributing Experts Danielle Mayoras and Jill Jordan are proud panelists for the miniseries:

What Every Women Needs to Know to Care for Loved Ones

Now and in the Future

Rochester, Michigan – September 15, 2009

A series of three free workshops focused on the financial, estate and care planning issues women face every day.

This community program will take place at the Rochester Community Center, 816 Ludlow St, Rochester, MI

Workshop dates are September 15th, 22nd and 29th, 2009

All three workshops will run from 6:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.

This educational series is presented by the Women Educating Women Consortium.

Attendees, should RSVP to 1-877-PLAN-758.


The Women Educating Women Consortium is a collaborative effort of female professionals, for the purpose of educating women in areas in which they are the decision maker.  These are the life circumstances and issues affecting them daily.  The material to be covered in this community event will address and answer questions women have which impact their families.  Some of the areas to be discussed are; indicators which should lead to taking an active role in a loved one’s life, senior care options, what to look for in a senior community,  Medicare and Medicaid and their relationship to funding care,  what are the Veteran’s benefits, information about long term care insurance and retirement and estate planning.

Presenters:

Danielle Mayoras – Attorney and Counselor,  The Center for Elder Law

Jill Jordan – Founder and Principal of Get Ahead by Getting Known

Mary Jo Fresard – Director of Community Relations at Sunrise Senior Living Rochester

Joann Lagman – Owner of  Home Helpers & Direct Link’s  Washington/Romeo office

Nancy Salvia – Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch

Candius Stearns – Owner of DFBenefits

Call 1-877-PLAN-758 to RSVP, Space is limited – reserve your seat today!

Announcing the Designated Daughter Radio Show

Join Katana Abbott, Midlife Millionaire and Danielle Mayoras, Elder Law Expert as they co-host their new and highly requested radio show “Designated Daughter” on Smart Women Talk Radio.

The first show airs Tuesday, August 25th, 8:00 am (PST)/11:00am (EST).

You must tune in to this show if you are a caregiver, a future caregiver, baby boomer, or a professional who services caregivers.  As two highly acclaimed experts in their fields, Katana and Danielle will discuss topics that are surrounding today’s aging population.  Expert guests will join them addressing how to overcome the most common hurdles caregivers, and professionals servicing the aging and caregiving population face.

katana_abbott2Katana Abbott, CFP, CSA

Smart Women Talk Radio teaches you to live with Purpose, Passion and Prosperity.

Katana Abbott knows firsthand the powers of an organized financial strategy. She left her $100 million investment management and financial planning practice to become founder and vision coach of Smart Women’s Coaching, a global online coaching, consulting, leadership and membership resource. Rising from a life of poverty and adversity to one of abundance, Katana spent 20 years with Ameriprise Financial as a Certified Financial Planner. At the age of 48, Katana retired financially independent. She and her partner of 15 years managed over $100 million which placed them in the top 1 percent of money managers nationally. She began pursuing her dream and created Smart Women’s Coaching in 2006, which has prospered into www.SmartWomensCafe.com, the free online networking community that is helping women in mid-life transition all around the world find their niche.

For more information, please visit www.SmartWomensCafe.com or email Katana directly at katana@smartwomenscoaching.com.

DBM Headshot 2008 - revised Danielle Mayoras, Attorney and Counselor, CPG (Credentialed Professional Gerontologist), Director of Education, for The Center for Elder Law, The Center for Probate Litigation and The Center for Special Needs Planning

Danielle Mayoras has dedicated her legal career to educating professionals and businesses as well as the general public on the topics of elder law, special needs planning, and general estate planning through presentations, print, and broadcast media across the United States.  She is a founding partner of The Center for Elder Law, The Center for Probate Litigation, and The Center for Special Needs Planning.

Additionally, Danielle is the co-author of the upcoming book Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights which you can learn more about at www.trialandheirs.com. Trial & Heirs uses real celebrity stories to help you avoid any errors when planning to leave your legacy to YOUR heirs.

 

 

Some of Danielle’s recent publications include: Exceptional Parent Magazine, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, and the Detroit Free Press.  She is also an active member of National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, The Michigan Dementia Coalition, National Speakers Association, Institute of Gerontology’s Elder Law and Finance Committee, and National Association for Professional Gerontologists.

For more information, email Danielle at  dmayoras@brmmlaw.com, or call 1-877-PLAN-758.

 

How Parents Can Provide Financially for a Special Needs Child in This Uncertain Economy

by Danielle Mayoras and Don Rosenberg

Have you ever wondered what would happen to your special needs loved one if you passed away tomorrow? Have you done everything possible to ensure that your loved one with special needs will maintain his or her government benefits and receive an inheritance from you? For many parents with special needs children, whether the children are minors or adults, these questions linger in the back of their minds. Estate planning is always important to do, however, when one of our beneficiaries is a special needs loved one, the planning becomes critical.

When a parent leaves an inheritance over $2,000 to an individual with special needs, then that inheritance is actually a gift to the government because it eliminates that child’s qualification for government benefits. Parents and attorneys armed with the basic knowledge, that you cannot have assets in excess of $2,000 and still qualify for government benefits, often think that the only reliable method to protect a special needs loved one is to disinherit them. They believe, or are counseled, that leaving their inheritance to another child or individual who will morally take care of their special needs loved one solves the problem. In most cases, however, this does not solve the problem, but only makes it worse. Leaving everything to your daughter “Susie” if “Johnny” has special needs, would allow Susie’s creditors to attach Johnny’s money. In addition, if Susie is having a bad year financially, there is nothing to stop her from using the money for herself. Furthermore, if Susie passes away, this money would go on to her beneficiaries and not to Johnny.

Parents can solve all of these problems by creating a Special Needs Trust. A properly drafted Special Needs Trust allows the special needs individual to maintain government benefits and to use the inheritance for everything but food and shelter. The Special Needs Trust is the perfect solution and the only reliable method to make sure that your inheritance benefits your child with special needs. The Special Needs Trust keeps assets in a form that will be available for your child and allows your child to maintain and receive government benefits.

A properly drafted Special Needs Trust will specify that funds from the Trust only supplement and do not replace the government benefits. These funds can be used for extra medical care, personal items, such as t.v.s, radios, computers, vacations, companionship, advocates or any other item or service to enhance your child’s self-esteem and situation, anything except food and shelter. With respect to shelter, your child can use the money to purchase a home, but cannot use the money for rent.

Oftentimes, parents who have minor or adult children with Cerebral Palsy wonder what the future will hold for their special loved one. Will they be productive in society, will they need governmental benefits, who will take care of them and be responsible for their financial needs? We have developed a very unique approach to address these questions – the Wait and See Special Needs Trust. A Special Needs Trust would be set up as a vessel for an inheritance to go into, however, a decision would be made by the trustee at the time that the parents pass away whether or not this individual is likely to need government benefits in the future. Specifically the Wait and See Trust requires the trustee to test and have your special needs loved one evaluated educationally, cognitively, rehabilitatively, physically and emotionally. These evaluations also include, but are not limited to, a physical and psychological evaluation, an evaluation of education and training programs, work opportunities and earnings, recreation, leisure time, and social needs. If he or she is not likely to need government benefits, then the Special Needs Trust would not be used and the assets can then be used for basic needs as well as special needs. The benefit of this, of course, is that we have the advantage of planning for an unknown future.

As a parent, not only do you want to provide an inheritance for you child or your children, but when you have a child with special needs, you often are the only one who knows their medical needs i.e. doctors, prescriptions, as well as the child’s likes and dislikes. The Special Needs Trust incorporates a Letter of Guidance that addresses all of the information that caregivers so vitally need.

While government agencies recognize Special Needs Trusts, there are strict rules and it is critical that you work with an experienced special needs attorney to draft the Trust. We have reviewed countless Special Needs Trusts that do not comply with Social Security Insurance and Medicaid rules. One wrong word or phrase can make the difference between an inheritance that benefits your child and one that causes your child to lose the many services, assistance and benefits available.
We know that a parent’s greatest worry is what will happen after I am gone. One parent shares his experience as follows:

“It had been in the back of my mind for years, soon after I found out my son had this lifelong disability. What would the future hold for him when I wasn’t there anymore to be his advocate, friend and supporter? It was both a big and little worry. Big, because it gave me a hole in my gut whenever the question crept in. And little, in the sense that I tried not to think about it. I’d think: I’ll worry about that tomorrow, next week, when he’s older, when I’m older.

Of course, I’ve done things to prepare for that future he’s going to have without me, things like teaching him how to wash clothes and shop. But should I write a Will? Make an estate plan? No, for years, I dodged that one totally. But you know, it’s funny. Now that we’re finished setting up our estate and only need periodically to review our plans, I feel like an enormous burden has been lifted up from me. The big, black, scary shadow is gone. Well, not totally gone, I suppose. I still worry about Samuel, what will happen to him in his life. I guess every parent does that. But now I don’t worry in the same way. I know I’ve done all I can do for that part of his future, something that was extremely important to do, and I am very relieved. Now I feel like we can deal fully with the present day and see to the other things that need to be done to prepare our child for life as an adult.

And that’s very exciting.”

Parents of special needs children can solve their greatest worry with a properly drafted Special Needs Trust.

Please contact Danielle Mayoras for additional information or questions at dmayoras@brmmlaw.com or 1-877-PLAN-758.

 

Reprinted from Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Dementias: a Guidebook for Care, Comfort, Legal and Financial Security.

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