John O’Grady, O’Grady Law Group
More than two decades after Audrey Hepburn’s death, her two sons still can’t agree on how to divvy up some of her belongings: A locker at Los Angeles Fine Arts & Wine Storage filled with photos, movie posters, clothing, jewels, awards, studio scripts and other collectables from the glamorous actress’ career are the valuable bounty over which Sean Hepburn Ferrer and Luca Dotti are battling.
Ms. Hepburn’s will provided that she intended her sons to inherit the possessions, but didn’t specify who should get what because the Breakfast at Tiffany’s and My Fair Lady star presumed they would be able to amicably agree on that themselves. They couldn’t though, so in lieu of reaching agreement on their own terms, Ferrer and Dotti decided to allow a judge to divide the items between them.
When creating your estate plan, consider specifying one person to inherit your personal property, because otherwise, legal disputes could arise—even among family members. In any event, work with your estate planning attorney to ensure your planning documents are completely clear about how to distribute your personal effects.
About the author:
John O‘Grady, O’Grady Law Group, was the 2012 chair of BASF’s Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Section.