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New show examines celebrity legacies in California and elsewhere

A new show is going to take a look at the legacies that certain celebrities left behind when they died. One of the first to be considered is James Gandolfini, an actor who passed away back in 2013. His death was very sudden, and there is a lot that people in California can learn from his estate plan.

One issue that the actor left for his children -- he had two of them from a pair of marriages -- was that he used a will for most of his estate. This is something that many people do, but it is important to note that a will has to go through a probate court. This opened the door to a lot of public opinion and scrutiny.

On top of that, going through the court system is something that often causes family members to fight with one another over the assets and wealth that are left behind. The whole process can be very challenging and stressful. If multiple marriages come into the picture, issues can be made even worse.

A solution that could be used to cut this process out would be setting up a trust rather than a will. A trust can distribute money according to someone's wishes, but without the need for so many potential issues. People may want to look into the legal steps that need to be taken when going through the trust planning process.

A final issue with only using a will and not a trust is that things can be left out of the will. In Gandolfini's case, he had some property in Italy that was not addressed properly, and he also set things up so that his children would get the money immediately -- no matter how old they were. This may not always be the best way to do it.

Source: Forbes, "Estate Planning Lessons From James Gandolfini And Other Celebrity Legacies" Danielle and Andrew Mayoras, Aug. 06, 2014

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