Books: Legal advice with entertainment |

Books: Legal advice with entertainment

From the minute you see the title – and the cover with cartooned celebrities such as Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix and Ray Charles -“Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!” promises entertainment. But there’s more to this book than just tales of horrendous legal battles between family members; the book is full of legal information about wills, trusts and all things dealing with death and money.Authors Andrew and Danielle Mayoras are a dynamite legal team with a combined 30 years of experience in the field. Their book is meant to help readers plan wisely regarding exactly where their money goes upon death. You might think it’s as easy as writing a will, but the Mayoras point out loopholes that can mean the downfall of a family that may or may not have gotten along otherwise.While the subject of wills, trusts and estate planning can certainly get heavy, “Trial & Heirs” is so engaging, it inspires people to get down to business (after, of course, reading all about how Jimi Hendrix most likely wanted his money to go to his brother, but 30 years later, due to a plethora of complications, bro still has no dough).The attorneys culled their information from public records (when wills go through probate court, it’s all public), as well as their own experience (with clients’ names changed).They point out how Chief Justice Warren Burger’s 176-word will didn’t clarify enough for his $1.8 million, how a women who posed as a man all her life so she could play jazz clubs made a mess of things (apparently, her “wife” didn’t even know she was a woman), how love children tend to pop up after people like Jerry Garcia die, and how Frank Sinatra was smart enough to create a detailed will with no contest clauses. Plus, they pepper the book with humorous headings, such as “where there’s a will, there’s a relative” and “people are crazy, relatively speaking.”Beyond the humor and gossipy stories, you’ll find solid knowledge and advice on why wills are important (and the limitations of wills), living trusts, pitfalls, choosing good executors and trustees and how to avoid family fights. At the end of each section, the Mayoras include ideas to spark family discussions, and throughout the book they define legal terms and make them easy to digest.For less than $20, why wouldn’t you avoid a family mess?

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