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Marilyn Monroe – I did it my way

December 1, 2011 Douglas Davis

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” align=”left” alt=”Marilyn Monroe”]/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Marilyn-Monroe-crop.png[/image_frame][dropcap4 variation=”red”]A[/dropcap4] lot of us remember Marilyn Monroe, a Hollywood icon and the subject of all kinds of speculation about her life, both personal and as an actress. She is still one of the most famous people ever to grace Hollywood, and her likeness is readily recognized around the world. What most people don’t know is that for all the wealth she amassed, none of it went to her family, her favorite charity, or those she loved.

Marilyn died at age 36 leaving a Last Will and Testament that among other
things, directed that 75% of her estate go to her acting coach, Lee Strasberg,
with “wishes” that he donate it to charity. Strasberg later married and at his
death in 1982, the estate plus all of Marilyn’s licensing and royalty fees (which still generate over $1.0 million annually) went to Strasberg’s widow, a complete stranger to Marilyn. None of Marilyn’s estate went to charity.

Lee bought a Ferrari, Strasberg’s widow inherited a fortune, and because of poor planning, Marilyn lost her shirt.

Not too many of us will enjoy the fame or fortune of Marilyn Monroe, but in our practice we often hear similar stories from children who have been accidentally disinherited because their parents planned poorly, or not at all.  Most of us would agree that planning for an event that is guaranteed to come, is a good idea.  Despite that knowledge, many people procrastinate and do nothing.  Some like Marilyn do a “simple will” with the expectation that everything will be handled appropriately.  Both approaches guaranty confusion and often result in unforeseen adverse consequences.

A professional who specializes in estate and legacy planning can help you ensure that your assets are protected during your lifetime, and are transferred effectively to your children or other beneficiaries at your death.  Designing an estate plan that is unique to your family situation and your desires, will eliminate guesswork and provide assurance that you have done everything possible to provide for those you love.