(612) 206-3701 info@lucerelegal.com

Are You Ready for Joan Rivers’ $150 Million Secret?

Lucere Legal helps with trust estate planning
Categories: Trusts

The unexpected death of Joan Rivers on September 4, 2014 was a shock to us all. Legendary comedienne, she spent her long life bringing laughter to millions of Americans with frequently irreverent roasting of her fellow celebrities (actress Elizabeth Taylor, in particular!). The 81-year-old was well known for her peculiarities, but the one that is alleged to have led to her death was her unique penchant for plastic surgery–a botched surgery stole her light from our lives.

Alive, Rivers reveled in exposure. Few were safe from her acerbic wit and the private lives of her peers never remained so for long with her in earshot. However, her attitude toward her death has now been shown markedly different. Unlike many unfortunate celebrities, her fortune–approximated to be over $150 million–purposefully avoided falling into the public eye. The reason? Joan thought ahead and kept much of the distribution of her wealth under wraps by use of a family trust.

She did, of course, leave a number of tantalizing tidbits behind that have got the gossip columns gabbing. Announced in late 2014, the barebones of the will were made publicly available. In it, Rivers named three co-executors to manage her estate: her daughter, Melissa Rivers, and two of her closest friends. Distributions of any remaining assets were left to the trustee of the Rosenberg Family Trust (established using Rivers’ married name) after all taxes and expenses had been made. Interestingly, she took a highly aggressive stance to prevent familial discord: anyone who made to contest the contents of her will would be entirely disinherited.

Other named beneficiaries of the trust include a number of charitable organizations, Rivers’ niece, nephew, grandson, and five employees. None of the amounts were specified.

Given her 81 years of experience in life, Rivers had no doubt seen enough of the trainwreck scandals that can follow a celebrity’s death and decided that her name would not be among them. Her apt estate planning left her most personal wishes out of the tabloids and protected her loved ones from too much unwanted media attention or contentious court battles. In using a private trust, she provided her daughter “the broadest and most absolute permissible direction” over the disposition of the trust estates.

You don’t need to be as rich and famous as Joan Rivers to make use of the tools proper estate planning offers. You want your loved ones to be protected and provided for, and a trust might be just the way to do it–some of the most notable benefits include:

  • Far greater control of the specifics of the distribution of your estate following your passing–including the “how” and the “when”;
  • Reduction of Estate and Gift Taxes;
  • Complete avoidance of the probate system–saving you the hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars that it can cost;
  • The designation of a manager of the assets in your trust upon your death–or, if you would like, your incapacitation;
  • The potential for broad-reaching protection from creditors;
  • A level of privacy above and beyond that afforded by a will, which must go through probate.

The best way to learn about establishing a trust for your family is to talk with us about it in a family estate planning consultation, where we can identify the best strategies for you to provide for and protect the financial security of your loved ones. Whether you are looking for immediate assistance or are simply looking into the matter for the first time, give us a call at 612-206-3700 or reach out via our online contact form to schedule an appointment.

“Joan Rivers 2010 – David Shankbone” by David Shankbone – Cropped from Joan Rivers at Musto’s 25th Anniversary. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Joan_Rivers_2010_-_David_Shankbone.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Joan_Rivers_2010_-_David_Shankbone.jpg

Contact us to see how we can help you with Trusts

You may also like . . .

Looking to Avoid Probate? Make Sure That You Fund Your Trust

You wouldn’t let your children get on their bicycles with only half a helmet; their protection is your number one goal. Yet many people make the mistake of leaving significant portions of their inheritable assets unshielded by the the trust they create. Even...

The plain-English guide for Minnesota small business owners

When it comes to business, ignorance isn't bliss; ignorance is risk.

There's a handful of legal topics that business owners should be familiar with, at least on a rudimentary level, to reduce the risk of having something horrible come out of left field.

This book is a legal guide to help you put the most common business legal issues on your radar, with enough information for you to be on the alert for when you may need to get some professional advice.

The intention in arming you with this information is so that you can proceed in business confidently and with fewer legal quagmires.

Do you have a cabin?

The first generation that buys a cabin enjoys it to the fullest and it’s a magical place where happy memories are made and families go for some much needed respite. Unfortunately, without thoughtful planning, the chances of the cabin staying a place of happiness and tranquility into successive generations is very, very slim.

If you haven’t done the planning in advance and made it legally binding, the family members (and their ex-spouses and new spouses) will have to work every detail out for themselves. If they can’t, what is likely to happen is a lawsuit called an action for partition that forces everyone to sell their interest. This lawsuit is expensive, and the costs of litigation will come out of the proceeds of the sale of the cabin, so to add insult to injury to those who wanted to keep the cabin but couldn’t afford to buy the others out, they are footing part of the legal bills in the lawsuit against them. Ouch!

It’s no wonder that family members stop speaking for years after the cabin conflict is “resolved.” You can’t make family relationships perfect, but you can take away much of the fuel for the family conflict fire. That’s what cabin planning does, and it has the nice side effect of giving you peace of mind now.

That’s why Kimberly wrote The Minnesota Cabin Planning Guide and Workbook, and you can get a free electronic copy of her book on our cabin planning website, or you can find it in many county libraries in Minnesota, or you can get it on amazon.com.

Make An Appointment>

Join Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our newsletter list to get information and resources helpful to running your business and planning and managing your personal financial affairs delivered right to your inbox.

We don’t spam and won’t share your information with anyone, at anytime, ever.

Check out our podcast

The Small Business Buzz Podcast