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Mickey Rooney's estate planning may be lesson to others

Estate planning can be a complicated and labor-intensive process for some. For others, their wishes and necessary documents may be straightforward and lead to little confusion. When there are many children, assets or questions over last wishes, the estate planning process can lead to litigation and family contention. The recent passing of legendary actor Mickey Rooney and the ensuing legal questions and battles may provide a useful lesson for Nevada residents who are in the midst of estate planning.

Mickey Rooney's family settled an agreement that was about to lead to litigation over where to bury him. For the last few years, there has been contention between family members as the actor cut his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and his wife from his will. However, the dispute wasn't about being cut from the will.

Rooney had previously asked for the court's help through a conservator after he came forward a few years ago with shocking allegations of elder abuse. He was estranged from his wife and children for years before his death. The legal action they tried to take after his death did not center on his estate, only valued at $18,000, but where he would be buried. The family wanted him in a family plot, while he made it clear to others that he wanted to be buried in a Hollywood cemetery next to other famous actors and actresses.

Most estate planning disputes that erupt after a death typically focus on money or assets deemed of value to one party. However, having a dispute unfold over last wishes or burial details is not that uncommon and can lead to heated debate and legal action. Anyone in Nevada who is planning to venture into the estate planning process may want to include details such as burial wishes to avoid any such disputes.

Source: Forbes, "Mickey Rooney's Estate Finds Peace, But Will It Last?", Danielle and Andy Mayoras, April 11, 2014

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