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Probate Wars of the Rich and Famous: An Insider's Guide to Estate Planning and Probate Litigation by Russell J. Fishkind

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CHAPTER 1

Legacy of a Lifetime

There are certain universal truths. Your life is unique. Yet at the same time, we all share many basic values: to love and be loved, to work hard, and give back, to be empathetic, and to be the best we can be. We’re only human and we all make mistakes. We all laugh, we all cry, and we all die. We hope that our lives mattered, that we’ll leave a mark and will be remembered for what made us special. How will you be remembered? As a kind soul, a dedicated parent, and a loving spouse? Perhaps your legacy will be defined by a lifetime of achievements, or maybe your loved ones will reminisce about your infectious laugh or loyal demeanor. Each journey is unique, but at the end of the day, we all hope to leave a meaningful legacy.

But there are certain universal truths. The loss of a loved one typically leaves the survivors in mourning. Sometimes family members grieve together and tearfully share in the legacy of the deceased and by so doing, their mourning is eased. But too often, that’s not the case. Instead of pulling together, family members fractionalize, and the digs and darts begin. They become embroiled in bitterness, fingers are pointed, and blame is attributed. Lines are drawn and after heated exchanges, there’s silence as the embers smolder. The survivors, now divided, believe they are morally correct in interpreting the intentions of a loved one and are therefore posthumously charged to right the obvious wrong. The loved one’s legacy is marred ...

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