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Las Vegas casino part of estate sale

Las Vegas residents may be aware that Fitzgerald's Casino was sold last October to Golden Gate casino's majority owners. What residents may not know is that representatives of the estate of Don Barden negotiated and arranged the sale. Barden was the first African-American casino owner in the United States and owned properties here in Las Vegas and around the nation at the time of his death.

Don Barden gained much of his wealth after selling his interest in a Detroit-based cable television company to Comcast for $100 million in 1994. At the time of his passing, he was an owner of many large businesses. Among them were Majestic Star LLC, which owned the Las Vegas properties and other casinos in several states, and Waycor Development Company, which held commercial property. The Barden Companies had an estimated $310 million in revenue for the year 2010, according to reports.

Like many people with substantial assets, Barden took steps through estate planning to make known his wishes for the distribution of his estate upon his death. Reports indicate that he set up a trust for his assets, called the Don H. Barden Trust, and at least one additional trust for the benefit of his daughter. A will was apparently created for this as a part of the estate plan, which has reportedly been filed in a Michigan probate court.

A strong estate plan can assist a person in determining how their estate is distributed after death, while also addressing important tax and business considerations. In such a manner, assets that may be subject to taxes or other large expenses can often be protected. In the Barden matter, a trust was created with the possible intent of keeping much of the estate's assets out of the probate court. The trust is now being administered by trustees who have the duty to ensure that assets are protected for the benefit of the man's beneficiaries and in conjunction with the last wishes of Don Barden as detailed in the trust documents.

Source: Crain's Detroit Business, "Barden building sale brings estate closure closer," Sherri Welch, March 4, 2012

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