Famous Estates – Legacy Champ or Chump?

Aug 01, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Estate Planning

Joseph Robbie (1916-1990) – Lawyer & Entrepreneur

Joseph “Joe” Robbie was an American lawyer and entrepreneur of Lebanese descent. Robbie was the original owner of the NFL football team, the Miami Dolphins (1966-1990). Coached by Don Shula, Robbie’s Dolphins achieved a perfect season (17-0) in 1972 and two consecutive Super Bowl wins. In 1987, he built the $115 million Joe Robbie Stadium (1987-1996) with private funds. For his contributions to the Miami Dolphins, and being founder of the team, Joe Robbie became the inaugural inductee into The Miami Dolphin Honor Roll on September 16, 1990 (eight months after his death).

Robbie’s dream was to have his family continue in his footsteps when he was gone. However, his wife passed away soon after him, and due to lack of planning, the estate tax bill was an estimated $47 million. Although the Robbie estate was estimated to be a little less than $100 million, there was insufficient liquidity to pay the estate taxes. As a result, the Miami Dolphins team was required to be sold for a fraction of its value. The Robbie’s did not have life insurance to pay the taxes on their illiquid estate.

Joe Robbie was a famous entrepreneur, but even successful businessmen can fail to plan properly. If you want to minimize the consequences of failing to properly plan your estate, then contact The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. for a free initial consultation on estate planning, trust planning, and/or probate issues.

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Thought for the Day:

Jul 31, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Uncategorized

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

Henry Ford

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Do What You Want

Jul 30, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Estate Planning

In the United States we like to talk about our freedoms and how we are a free people. While that is true, if you think about it, we are actually restricted in what we can do in all sorts of ways. Most of these are ways that we do not even think of as restricting our freedom because they just seem natural to us. An extreme example of this is that we do not see it as a restriction on our freedom that we are not allowed to murder whomever we want. However, in a way it is a restriction.

We are just used to restrictions on our freedom. However, there is one area of our lives where there are very few restrictions. In fact, the only real restrictions are those that are based on choices that we have made. That area of life is deciding who gets your property after you pass away. As long as you did not choose to get married, you can give your property to whomever you want. You are perfectly free to give your property to anyone.

That does not mean that it is easy to exercise this estate planning freedom. You have to do it the right way, and for that you will want an estate planning attorney.

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Texas History – Do You Know Who Prevented Reinforcements From Aiding Santa Anna’s Army in the Battle of San Jacinto?

Jul 29, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Uncategorized

A Texas scout and spy named Erastus (Deaf) Smith is given credit for destroying Vince’s bridge before the Battle of San Jacinto, which prevented reinforcements from aiding Santa Anna’s army. This may have been Deaf Smith’s most valuable effort on the Texans’ behalf. He died at Richmond, Texas, on November 30, 1837, at the age of fifty.

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Famous Estates – Legacy Champ or Chump?

Jul 25, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Estate Planning

John F. Kennedy, Jr. (1960-1999) – Lawyer & Magazine Publisher

John F. Kennedy, Jr. was an American socialite, magazine publisher, and lawyer. He was the only surviving son of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy. Several times Kennedy was asked publicly if he was interested in following in his father’s footsteps and choosing politics as a career. He would always decline for the time being, but he would not rule it out for the future. In 1995, Kennedy and New York public relations magnate Michael J. Berman founded George, a glossy politics-as-lifestyle monthly. Kennedy controlled fifty percent (50%) of the company’s shares. Before his death, Kennedy had conceded that he “might have to wind it up by the end of the year.”

John F. Kennedy, Jr. and his wife, Caroline Bessette-Kennedy, died in a plane crash in July 1999. Since Caroline did not survive him and he had no surviving children, his Will gave his propery to the children of his sister, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, and a trust he established in 1983. His estate is estimated to be worth around $100 million.

We celebrate John F. Kennedy, Jr. as a Legacy Champ for establishing a Last Will and Testament as well as a Trust. As such the details of his estate are confidential. If you want to be a Legacy Champ in your own special way, then contact The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. for a free initial consultation on estate planning, trust planning, and/or probate issues.

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Thought for the Day:

Jul 24, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Uncategorized

Either you run the day, or the day runs you.

Jim Rohn

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Hitting a Fastball

Jul 23, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Probate

Many things in life seem like they are easy to do until you actually try to do them. This is one of the reasons that people enjoy watching sports so much. They seem so easy, but anyone who has ever tried to play a sport knows that it is extremely difficult. It looks easy to hit a fastball, but step into the batter’s box and you will find out just how difficult it is. It requires a certain skill set and training that most of us just do not have.

This phenomenon is not unique to sports. Being an Executor of an estate is very similar. When the job is explained to you and you agree to be an Executor, it sounds like a simple task. Then, when you try to do it, you find out that it is very complicated and you have little idea what you are doing. There are all sorts of things that an Executor has to do that most people do not know how to do.

Being an Executor is not like baseball, however. An athlete cannot hire someone to hit a fastball for him. An Executor can. An Executor can hire a Probate attorney to help with the difficult tasks.

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Texas History – Do You Know Who Saved the Alamo From Being Torn Down?

Jul 22, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Uncategorized

In 1903 Clara Driscoll bought the Alamo to keep it from being torn down and she went on to fund extensive restorations. This earned her the title, “Savior of the Alamo.”

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Famous Estates – Legacy Champ or Chump?

Jul 18, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Estate Planning

Philip K. Wrigley (1894-1977) – Businessman

Philip Wrigley, sometimes called P.K., was an American chewing gum manufacturer and executive in Major League Baseball, inheriting both those roles as the quiet son of his much more flamboyant father, William Wrigley, Jr. While the gum industry prospered, the Cubs grew less competitive over the decades. After an appearance in the 1945 World Series, they only had seven winning seasons in the next 32 years, including sixteen straight losing seasons from 1947 to 1962. In 1961 he abolished the traditional field management/coaching structure and instead hired a “College of Coaches.” This anticipated the specialization of coaches that is taken for granted nowadays. During World War II, Wrigley founded the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League as a promotional sideline to maintain interest in baseball as the military draft was depleting major-league rosters of first-line players. The AAGPBL was immortalized in the 1992 film, A League of Their Own.

Philip and his wife Helen died in 1977 within three months of each other. After years of negotiating with the IRS and several states’ taxing authorities, the Wrigley family settled on valuation issues and the amount of estate taxes owed, over $40 million. After selling off the family portfolio of stocks, in the end, the family had to sell the Chicago Cubs. All the proceeds from that sale went to the government to pay off estate taxes. Philip and Helen did not have life insurance to provide the liquidity needed to pay the taxes on their illiquid estate.

Philip Wrigley was a famous businessman, but even successful businessmen can fail to plan properly. If you want to minimize the consequences of failing to properly plan your estate, then contact The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. for a free initial consultation on estate planning, trust planning, and/or probate issues.

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.

Do You Need a Social Media Will?

Jul 16, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Estate Planning

In estate planning many different ideas come and go as laws and ideas change. The latest fads revolve around what to do with your social media accounts after you pass away. The idea is to give someone the ability to access your accounts and set out how you want them handled. While this is generally a good idea, it needs to be executed properly.

The big thing now is called a Social Media Will. It’s a separate document for your social media accounts. Do you really need it though? You should have a comprehensive estate plan that covers everything. You can give directions for your social media accounts in other documents, like Wills and Trusts. If you already have those, it’s easier to include your social media directives in them because it’s one less document for your heirs to find and present in Probate court.

There will be other fads in estate planning. Just because something is the newest thing does not make it the greatest thing. Older estate planning tools are often just as effective, if not more so, in protecting the interests of your estate and fulfilling your goals as newer ones. Give directions on how you want your social media accounts handled, but talk to an estate planning attorney about the best way for you to do so.

The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.