A Missing Will—Flo Jo’s Tragic Mistake

If you’ve created a Will, congratulations! You have made your intentions clear to the world and have provided for your loved ones based on what you determined was best. One caveat, and Rule #1 when creating your Will—make sure to tell someone where to find it! 

Olympic Gold Medalist’s Death Tears Family Apart When Will Is Lost:

Olympian sprinter Florence (Flo Jo) Griffith Joyner was considered to be the “fastest woman of all time” having broken records in the 100 and 200 meter sprints in the 1988 Olympics. She was only 28-years-old at the time. Sadly, she died ten years later from an epileptic seizure. 

Although she had created a will, it could never be located. Considered to have died intestate (without a will), it took a probate court four-years to close her case. In the end, it caused years of litigation and tore her family apart.

Where There’s No Will, There’s No Way:

Without a will to instruct a probate court as to your intentions, there is no way for it to adequately provide for and protect your loved ones. In Flo Jo’s case, a judge eventually appointed a third party to administer the estate because tensions had grown out of control between her husband and her mother.

Her mother claims Flo Jo had promised her that she could stay in the house for the rest of her life. Her husband claims that was not the agreement. Tensions only increased throughout the probate process. 

Her mother unsuccessfully sued her son-in-law for wrongful death. The two also battled in court for years over, believe it or not, setting up a charitable organization in Flo Jo’s name. The bottom line was that the bad blood between them was never resolved.

Don’t Tear Your Family Apart!

No one dreams of having their family torn apart over who gets what and when after they die.  However, as Flo Jo’s case shows, that’s exactly what happens sometimes. It’s much easier to accept someone’s wishes when you know they are accurate. 

That’s exactly what a will provides. Without one, your loved ones are left wondering about your trueintentions – which is never a good idea.

We can help you create an estate plan which best fits your needs. Avoid tearing your family apart. Get the peace of mind knowing your intentions are clear, documented, and easy to find. You owe it to your family.

If you want to ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.

Sonny Bono’s Procrastination in Creating His Estate Plan Causes Years Of Estate Litigation

Sonny Bono, the singer, songwriter, restauranteur, and former Congressman, died in a tragic ski accident in 1998 at the age of 62. His net worth was just under $2 million at the time of his death, yet Bono did not have a Will. Apparently, he meant to have one drawn up, but simply never got around to it. 

Sadly, his fourth wife and surviving spouse, former Representative Mary Bono, spent years battling to be the executor of his estate. She also faced lawsuits filed by anyone and everyone who wanted a piece of the pie – some of whom you wouldn’t believe...

Cher & Secret Love Child Want Piece of Sonny’s Estate:

Having died intestate (without a Will), Sonny Bono’s estate was seemingly up for grabs. His surviving spouse had to specifically fend off two people whose demands on the estate made headlines:

1.Cher. Yes, THE Cher, Sonny’s second wife, sued for a share of his estate seeking $1.6 million in unpaid alimony. When the couple   divorced in 1974, Sonny was allegedly ordered to pay Cher $25,000 per month for six months, $1,500 per month child support, and $41,000 in attorneys’ fees.

a. Apparently, he never did. While it’s odd that someone with their own net worth of over $300 million would even bother taking the time, it’s nonetheless true. Whether she collected is anyone’s guess, but not likely.

2. Secret Love Child. As if Cher’s lawsuit wasn’t odd enough, a secret love child made his own claim on Sonny’s estate. Then 35-year-old Sean Machu came forward claiming to be Bono’s illegitimate son. 

 b.  Although Bono admitted to having an affair with Machu’s mother in his autobiography, The Beat Goes On, and Machu's birth certificate lists Salvatore Bono (aka Sonny) as the father, Machu later withdrew the lawsuit when a DNA test was required.

Bono’s estate was eventually divided between his surviving spouse and his two children, Chastity (now Chaz) Bono and Christy Bono Fasce (a child from his first marriage).

Don’t Leave Your Wealth Up For Grabs – Take Action Now:

As Sonny Bono’s case shows, not having a Will, trust, or other estate planning documents in place gives others the sense that your wealth is up for grabs.  Most of us don’t relish the idea of creating a plan for what will happen when we die.  However, it’s a necessity in order to avoid having your spouse and children go through court battles and heartache.

It’s imperative that you take action now.  We have the tools you need to put your estate plan into place so that procrastination is not an issue. If you want to ensure that your family is cared for, please click here to schedule your complimentary Estate Planning Strategy Call with San Francisco’s premier estate planning attorney, Matthew J. Tuller.