What Can We Learn From Paris Hilton?

Paris Hilton is married! Hilton and her beau, Carter Reum, tied the knot on November 10, 2021, in LA. The wedding was attended by all of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (RHOBH), Kim Kardashian and Paula Abdul, among other reality royalty. The festivities will air on Paris’s reality show as well as the RHOBH! Woohoo!

Marrying into the Hilton family must be exciting, all that family drama….all that money, but not so fast.

Those of us “in the know,” read how Paris’s grandfather, Barron Hilton had excluded her from his last will and testament. Apparently, Paris was “an embarrassment to the family name” (all I remember is an amazing reality show). Barron was so pissed off, he decided to not only punish Paris, but also cut out her parents and siblings from his estate.

During a Christmas gathering, in 2007, Barron announced to his family that he was making a major change to his last will. Instead of leaving his $4.5 billion fortune to his family, he was leaving the bulk of his estate to his father’s charity, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Barron left 97% to the foundation and split the remaining 3% ($135 million) between about 24 family members (sans Paris and her familia). In other words, instead of inheriting roughly $181 million each, the Hilton family members would receive $5.6 million each. Yikes!

Should Barron be a Florida resident, we already know that you may disinherit your grown children and grandchildren without a reason, (or in this case, you’re a tad judgy). However, Barron’s disinheritance announcement got me thinking about what information should be made available to family regarding estate plans?

I find that every family is unique, and the discussions vary from the very formal (in my office with witnesses) to the very casual, (“your dad and I created a trust, pass the ketchup.”) I’ve seen it all. A few things are applicable to everyone. It important to let loved ones know (1) that an estate plan was created (2) the location of the estate plan and (3) the contact information to the attorney that drafted the paperwork. The attorney will most likely have a digital copy of the documents and any relevant historical data.

This is a great start and sometimes all that’s needed. Some clients provide their responsible, grown children with a copy (digital or paper) of the documents. However, an update to the documents is sometimes annoying when so many people have a copy and it’s necessary to get the copies back. Additionally, the Power of Attorney document is quite powerful, it’s not a good idea to have too many of those copies floating about.

We can also learn that for those trying to make a point through a disinheritance, it’s critical that the timing is right. An exclusion of this effect should be performed in a group setting for maximum effect. If you can ruin a holiday, even better LOL.

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With over 50 years of combined experience, our probate, estate planning, real estate, elder law and asset protection attorneys provide peace of mind for our clients throughout South Florida.

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