Late Celebrity Rich List ‘Demonstrates Need To Plan For Future’

Legal Experts React To New Research Highlighting Lasting Legacy Of Stars

29.10.2015

Specialist lawyers representing families affected by will disputes have described new research on the wealth of dead celebrities as another sign as to why making plans for an estate is an absolute necessity.

The research by Forbes revealed that Michael Jackson is the top-earning dead celebrity for 2015 by some distance, earning a massive $140 million across the past 12 months.

Elvis Presley ($55 million) and Snoopy creator Charles Schulz ($40 million) came second and third respectively, with reggae star Bob Marley ($21 million) and actress Elizabeth Taylor ($20 million) completing the top five.

Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, Albert Einstein and Bettie Page were also featured in the top ten, with Fast and Furious star Paul Walker being a new entry into the list following his death in 2013.

Will dispute lawyers at Irwin Mitchell who specialise in providing support to those seeking to make claims against a loved one’s estate have said the research acts as an important reminder that people need to prepare wills and have plans in place for their legacy to be handled as they wish.

Expert Opinion
“While these statistics deal with the rich and famous, they do highlight that people who pass away do leave behind a significant legacy and estate which has to be managed when they pass away.

“The only way to try and ensure your estate is handled how you would wish is to have a comprehensive and properly written will in place outlining your key wishes and how matters should be handled when you die.

“Failing to do this can cause major issues in the long run and lead friends and family into complex, time-consuming and emotionally draining legal disputes.

“One of the other interesting aspects of these figures is that it shows in some cases how some people’s legacy can increase in financial value as time goes by. It should be noted however that relatives or dependents who feel they have not been reasonably provided for only have six months to make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. The six months begins to run on the date a grant of representation is issued, as opposed to on death.

“There is no statutory time limit on claims that a will is invalid or many of the other types of common will dispute claims.”
Gavin Faber, Partner