Texas History – Do You Know What Town is Located in the Center of Texas?

Sep 02, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Uncategorized

Although modern cartography differs to some degree, Center City in Mills County was so named because it is the geographical center of Texas.

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

Famous Estates – Legacy Champ or Chump?

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

Dean Martin (1917-1995) – Singer, Comedian & Actor

Dean Martin, born Dino Paul Crocett, was an American singer, film actor, television star and comedian. One of the most popular and enduring American entertainers of the mid-20TH century, Martin was nicknamed the “King of Cool” for his seemingly effortless charisma and self-assuredness. He was a member of the “Rat Pack” and a star in concert stage/nightclubs, recordings, motion pictures, and television. He was the host of the television variety program The Dean Martin Show, and subsequently The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts.

After Martin’s death in 1995, his agent, Mort Viner, and Laura Lizer became co-trustees of the Dean Martin Family Trust, which consisted of Dean Martin’s half of his royalty payments. When Viner died in 2003, the remaining trustee, Laura Lizer, pocketed $130,000 in agency commissions, even though she never acted as Martin’s agent, Martin’s ex-wife, Jeanne Martin, claimed in Superior Court. Jeanne Martin says their divorce settlement grants her half of the royalties from records Dean Martin made prior to their divorce. The singer agreed that his talent agency, International Creative Management, could take its ten percent (10%) commission before giving Jeanne half of his royalties. In addition to the royalties, Jeanne Martin says she is a trust beneficiary because Viner’s death ended the trust’s obligation to pay agency fees, but Lizer continued to take ten percent (10%) off the top of the royalties. Jeanne Martin sued Lizer, demanding the money back, an accounting, and damages.

Dean Martin was a successful singer, entertainer and comedian, but even a world renowned celebrity 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:

Aug 28, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Uncategorized

Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

Joshua J. Marine

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

Texas History – Do You Know When the First Public Demonstration of an Airplane Occurred in Texas?

Aug 26, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Uncategorized

The first public demonstration of an airplane in Texas took place February 8, 1910, near Houston, when Frenchman Louis Paulhan showed off his French-made fabric-and-wood biplane.

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

Famous Estates – Legacy Champ or Chump?

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

Kenneth Arnold Chesney (1968- ) – Singer & Songwriter

Kenneth “Kenny” Chesney is an American country music singer/songwriter. Chesney has recorded 15 albums, 14 of which have been certified gold or higher by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). He has also recorded more than 30 Top Ten singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, 22 of which climbed to the top of the charts. Chesney produced and co-directed a film for ESPN, The Boys Of Fall. Chesney has received six Academy of Country Music awards, including four consecutive Entertainer of the Year awards from 2005 to 2008, as well as six Country Music Association awards. In 1998, Chesney recorded a limited-edition single titled “Touchdown Tennessee.” The single was a tribute to John Ward, a former broadcaster for the University of Tennessee Volunteers’ football team; St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the John Ward Scolarship Fund. Chesney’s most recent charity work includes working with the V Foundation, founded by North Carolina State Wolfpack basketball coach Jim Valvano to help find a cure for cancer. He is also a regular performer at Farm Aid, the organization founded by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp to keep family farms from foreclosure. Like all Farm Aid artists, Chesney donates his talent, time, and travel expenses for the cause.

We honor Kenny Chesney because his charity work makes him a Legacy Champ. 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:

Aug 21, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Uncategorized

First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective, Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods.  Third, adjust all your means to that end.

Aristotle

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

Destroy Old Wills

Aug 20, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Wills and Trusts

We have previously told you a couple of very basic, but important, estate planning tips. We have told you that when you make a new Will, you need to be sure that you destroy any old Wills. We have also told you that you need to make sure that your heirs can easily find your Will. A case in New York highlights why you need to listen to these tips.

Elmer H. Bobst was multi-millionaire who passed away over 30 years ago. At the time, his estate was Probated and distributed according to Letters Testamentary that he left behind. However, in recent years, it has been discovered that after writing the Letters, Bobst made out a Will. This Will distributes the estate much differently than it was originally distributed. This has caused the Court to reopen the estate and order that a trial be held to determine which document to use. This trial will no doubt be expensive and time-consuming.

Do not make the same mistakes as Bobst. Destroy any old Wills and make sure that the correct Will can be found. Do not leave your estate subject to being reopened years after you pass away.

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

Texas History – Do You Know How the Town of Weslaco Got Its Name?

Aug 19, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Uncategorized

The town of Weslaco in the Rio Grande Valley was named for W.E. Stewart Land Company (WESLaCo), which promoted the land development when the Missouri-Pacific Railroad came through Hidalgo County.

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

Famous Estates – Legacy Champ or Chump?

Aug 15, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Estate Planning

John Seward Johnson, Sr. (1895-1983) – Businessman

John Seward Johnson, also known as Seward Johnson, was one of the sons of Robert Wood Johnson, Sr. (co-founder of Johnson & Johnson). He founded the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (HBOI). Johnson was married three times, and he had six children. While he was married to Esther Underwood, his second wife of 32 years, he engaged in extramarital affairs with his chambermaid, Barbara Piasecka. In 1971, they married and none of Johnson’s children were in attendance. He signed his final will on April 14, 1983, leaving the bulk of his fortune to Piasecka. In that year Johnson died of cancer at the age of 87. In accordance with the terms of the will, she received $402,824,971.59.

The exclusion of the rest his family from the Will led to at least three highly publicized legal battles. The three-year probate litigation generated $24 million in attorney’s fees. The six children from his first two marriages sued on grounds that he was not mentally competent at the time he signed the Will. It was settled out of court and the children were granted about 12% of his fortune. The second legal dispute was regarding eligibility of Mary Lea Johnson Richards’ husband’s share of the fortune, which lasted twelve years. The court ruled in favor of her husband. The third battle was regarding the eligibility of John Seward Johnson II’s daughter’s share of the fortune. The court ruled in favor of his daughter. In addition, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution contested the new Will, and eventually received $20 million in settlement.

J. Seward Johnson, Sr. was a notable 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.

Thought for the Day:

Aug 14, 2014  /  By: Stephen A. Mendel, Estate Planning Attorney  /  Category: Uncategorized

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Anne Frank

 

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