Those of us who live within commuting distance to Hollywood understand that not every famous television or movie star lives out his or her life in luxury. Some move on to other careers while many go to lesser roles as they age. The story of a former star losing money due to mismanagement or financial mistakes is not an uncommon one.
Estate planning can help prevent the type of issue that is now halting the burial of 70s and 80s television star Sherman Hemsley. Famous for playing George Jefferson in “The Jeffersons,” the actor’s will is currently being disputed. Sadly, the actor’s body is in refrigeration pending a resolution of the will dispute.
According to reliable sources the actor’s will left his entire estate to his long-time companion and former business manager of 20 years and is being contested by a long-lost brother from Philadelphia. The 56-year-old woman and a 76-year-old friend lived with the actor for many years. The 56-year-old claims that the actor never mentioned a brother to her. The brother claims that the will might not have been written by the actor.
The will was allegedly written about six weeks before the actor’s death from lung cancer. The amount of the estate was listed as being more than $50,000.
The burial cannot take place until the will dispute has been settled. Preventing a burial is the type of issue that most families, even those of modest means, would certainly want to avoid. Estate planning should at minimum consider a will, power of attorney and health care directive and should be updated on a regular basis.
Source: Ventura County Star, “Will dispute prevents burial of Sherman Hemsley,” Aug. 29, 2012
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