Who Inherits Queen Elizabeth II’s Fortune?

Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom’s longest-serving monarch, aged 96, after reigning for 70 years. She died on September 8 at her estate at Balmoral, Scotland.

The late Queen Elizabeth II had a fortune worth roughly $500M over 70 years on the throne. This fortune includes assets, property, art, and jewelry. MSN’s recent article entitled “Queen Elizabeth Amassed a $500M Fortune, but Does It All Go to King Charles III?” explains that the monarchy’s tangible assets include the Crown Estate, the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, the Royal Collection and the Crown Jewels. The royal family’s impact on the U.K. economy is primarily through tourism and free media coverage of Britain.

In 2021, it was reported that the crown holds, but cannot sell, nearly $28 billion in assets. These assets include the following:

  • The Crown Estate ($19.5 billion);
  • Buckingham Palace (est. $4.9 billion);
  • The Duchy of Cornwall ($1.3 billion);
  • The Duchy of Lancaster ($748 million);
  • Kensington Palace (est. $630 million); and
  • The Crown Estate Scotland ($592 million).

It’s also estimated Queen Elizabeth has another $500 million in personal assets.

Fortune reported she left over $500 million in personal assets to her oldest son, King Charles III. He will reportedly inherit that sum when he is formally crowned King of the United Kingdom. The late queen’s assets include two castles: Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle.

King Charles’ private expenses for himself and his extended family are paid via an allowance through the Duchy of Lancaster called the Privy Purse.

It’s not yet known if the late queen left a private will that provided for her three other children and their families.

Reference: MSN (Sep. 13, 2022) “Queen Elizabeth Amassed a $500M Fortune, but Does It All Go to King Charles III?”

 

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Pat Bowlen – How Not to Build a Family Football Dynasty

Pat Bowlen did everything right when planning for his NFL team to be transferred to new owners. He created a succession plan and filed it with the NFL, as required by the organization’s bylaws. He notified heirs of developments as they occurred. Despite this, for years before and after Bowlen died in 2019, the battle over his estate and ownership of the team was fiercer than any on the playing field, according to a recent article from Variety, “Broncos’ Fumbled Handoff Reveals Perils of NFL Estate Planning.”

With an average age of 72, National Football League owners are facing inheritance and estate planning challenges familiar to any family embarked upon planning for distribution of their possessions. However, it is on a gigantic scale. The average NFL franchise is worth around $4.14 billion, and ownership transfers must address not only taxes and estate law, but rules and restrictions of the NFL.

Trust and estate attorneys believe the NFL teams are ripe for succession problems. The value of the team, plus the scarcity—there are a limited number of teams, after all—is expected to lead to property disputes that can’t be easily resolved simply by selling the property and splitting the proceeds.

This past spring, a group led by Rob Walton, 77-year-old steward of the Walmart fortune and father of three, purchased the Broncos for $4.65 billion. The deal marked the conclusion of several years of high- profile legal battles where Bowlen family members went at it in court and in the media and underscores the unpredictable nature of succession planning.

What happened to the Bowlen family?

As Pat Bowlen started to experience Alzheimer’s disease in the late 2000s, he started planning. In 2009, he revoked one trust to create a new one to be overseen by three trustees, who were each either a team executive or attorneys he’d known for many years. None was a member of the family.

The trust was created to manage a complex structure of the team’s ownership. The team was owned by PDB Sports, a limited partnership owned itself by Bowlen Sports Inc., which was owned by Patrick Bowlen and his brother John Bowlen. The trust would also operate other family-owned team properties, including Stadium Management Company, which operated Denver’s famous Mile High Stadium.

If the structure of the business wasn’t complex enough, the family’s internal relations were equally complicated. Seven children from two marriages, along with three siblings had been co-owners at various points in time and all had children of their own. No one agreed about the future of the team. They also disagreed about the competency and objectivity of the trustees.

Pat Bowlen was the scion of a wealthy Canadian oil man. He and two brothers and one sister bought most of the Broncos in 1984 and the remainder of the team two years later. Each sibling owned about 25% of the team in 1986. The set up wasn’t sustainable because the NFL requires each team to identify one controlling owner. Over time, Pat Bowlen purchased equity from his siblings and gained control of the franchise. At the time of his death, he owned 76% of the team, and his brother John owned the other 24%.

Bowlen wanted the family to own the team just like the Rooney family, owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Selling the team was never part of his plan. However, his wishes were not expressed in his estate planning documents or trusts. The trustees declined a different succession plan from two daughters from his first marriage. When his second wife learned one of the daughters from the first marriage had attended an owner’s meeting in 2021, things got hotter. The second wife threatened to fire a trustee if the daughter from the first marriage began ascending as a controlling owner and the battles continued. The following years were filled with lawsuits and accusations.

There were many factors in this epic estate battle. However, it’s pretty likely having so many families embroiled in a high stakes battle would have undone any estate plan. A complex ownership structure, multiple families and a big price tag all contributed to the sale of the team, undermining Bowlen’s wishes to create a football family dynasty.

For most families, the stakes are not as high. However, the emotions can be just as intense. An estate plan created by an experienced estate planning attorney plus a plan for communication between all family members more often than not will achieve the desired goals.

Reference: Variety (Sep. 10, 2022) “Broncos’ Fumbled Handoff Reveals Perils of NFL Estate Planning”

 

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Can My Teeth Tell Me about My Health?

AARP’s recent article entitled “8 Surprising Things Your Teeth Can Tell You About Your Health” gives us some signs that our teeth can say about out health.

  1. Damaged tooth enamel can be a sign of eating disorders. While bulimia and anorexia are most common in young women, studies show that 13% of American women over 50 have signs of eating disorders. Bulimia is an illness characterized by a cycle of binge eating and self-induced vomiting, often leads to tooth damage. Acid created in the stomach by vomiting erodes the inner enamel or thin outer coating of the teeth. Anorexia is also a serious illness characterized by weight loss, difficulty maintaining an appropriate body weight, and distorted body image. Many people with bulimia are also anorexic, so those with anorexia may also have damage to their tooth enamel.
  2. Pale gums can be a sign of anemia. Anemia is a condition that develops when not enough rich, healthy red blood cells are produced in the body. This makes a person feel weak and tired. It can also cause shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, and an irregular heartbeat. About 10% of the 35 million people in the U.S. over 65 are considered anemic.
  3. Osteoporosis can put people at risk for tooth loss. This is a bone disease that develops when bone density, mass, and structure in the body changes and can result in loss of bone strength and risk of bone fractures. About 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass.
  4. Complications of kidney disease can lead to tooth loss. When the blood can’t be filtered properly, the result is kidney disease. Those with kidney disease often have compromised immune systems and chronic inflammation. A compromised immune system is susceptible to the overgrowth of bacteria or fungus in the body, which can lead to periodontal disease. This is a common bacteria-induced inflammatory disease that causes bleeding gums, wobbly teeth, and tooth loss.
  5. Oral thrush can be a sign of HIV. This is a fungal infection caused by a fungus called candida, which is normally present in low numbers in the mouths of many people. The problem happens when there’s an overgrowth of candida. This can be caused by several factors, including a compromised immune system.
  6. Acid reflux can cause damage to tooth enamel. Acid reflux happens when the contents of your stomach or stomach acid regurgitates into the esophagus. A dentist should easily be able to detect tooth damage by erosion from acid reflux.
  7. Poor dental hygiene is associated with cognitive decline. This can be a sign of cognitive decline, especially in those who have previously taken good care of their teeth. As brushing, flossing and dental visits become harder, the ability to maintain the health of the teeth lessens. Research has also connected tooth loss to a higher risk of dementia. When a senior who’s previously taken good care of his or her teeth has food debris in the mouth, the lack of self-care could indicate decline. Caregiver support may be needed.
  8. Teeth grinding can be a sign of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes breathing to stop or become very shallow during sleep. The National Sleep Foundation has found that 1 in 4 people with sleep apnea also grind their teeth at night. Untreated sleep apnea is associated with serious health problems like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, liver problems, and even dementia.

Reference: AARP (July 22, 2022) “8 Surprising Things Your Teeth Can Tell You About Your Health”

 

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Did Actress Anne Heche have a Will?

Homer Laffoon, actress Anne Heche’s 20-year-old son, is asking that he be awarded control of his mother’s assets. His mother died last month after a car crash at age 53 and did not have a will, according to a copy of the petition obtained by CNN.

“Filed concurrently with this petition is a Petition for Appointment of Guardian ad Litem for the minor,” the docs read, “which specifically requests that the guardian ad litem be granted the authority to waive bond on behalf of the minor.”

The petition names Laffoon and Heche’s 13-year-old son, Atlas Tupper as heirs.

“The Estate consists of two (2) intestate heirs—Homer Heche Laffoon and Atlas Heche Tupper,” the petition states “Homer Heche Laffoon is an adult and the proposed Administrator. Atlas Heche Tupper is a minor.”

CNN’s recent article entitled “Anne Heche’s son petitions to assume control of her estate” reports that an October 11 hearing is scheduled to evaluate this request. Also, it’s been noted that the estimated worth of Anne Heche’s estate will need to undergo forensic accounting. That’s because it’s not known how much the star was worth upon her death.

While there’s no official will documenting Heche’s wishes for her estate, Homer’s stated that his mom’s final resting place will be at the Hollywood Forever cemetery. She also designated her organs for donation at her passing before her remains were cremated.

In the aftermath of the grief, these unexpected events will provide some legal hurdles.

Heche’s car crashed into a Los Angeles home and erupted into flames on August 5. She experienced a “severe anoxic brain injury,” depriving her brain of oxygen, among other critical injuries, her family and friends said in a statement. Anne passed away a few days later after being taken off life support.

“My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom. After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness,” Lafoon said in statement to CNN on Aug. 14. “Hopefully my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom.”

Reference: CNN (Sep. 1, 2022) “Anne Heche’s son petitions to assume control of her estate”

 

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When Will Hearing Aids Be OTC (Over the Counter)?

Some people avoid purchasing hearing aids because of their hefty price tags. The cost for a single hearing aid ranges from hundreds of dollars to more than $4,000. Moreover, Medicare and most private insurers don’t usually cover the expense. Thus, affordability is a “significant barrier” to purchasing hearing aids, according to a paper in the Hearing Journal, a hearing health care publication.

However, an FDA rule is slated to take effect in mid-October, at which point hearing aid manufacturers will have 240 days to amend relevant product labels and marketing to comply with the new OTC requirements. OTC hearing aids will likely be more affordable and accessible to consumers than most other FDA-approved hearing aids on the market right now.

Forbes’ recent article entitled “FDA Rule Allows Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids To Hit Shelves As Soon As October, Improving Access Nationwide” reports that according to the FDA’s new rule, over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are hearing aids intended for people at least 18 years old with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss.

Hearing aids will be available at stores and online retailers (who aren’t required to be licensed sellers) without the need for a medical exam, prescription or fitting adjustment by an audiologist or hearing health professional. The OTC hearing aids must be controllable by the user and customizable to the user’s hearing needs, allowing them to make volume and frequency-dependent changes based on their preferences without the assistance of a professional.

Note that OTC hearing aids are different from personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), which are used to amplify sounds in certain environments and aren’t subject to FDA regulation.

While specific cost information hasn’t been announced by the FDA, OTC hearing aids are expected to be more affordable than prescription hearing aids. Those are frequently sold bundled with audiology services. Affordable OTC hearing aids have the potential to make hearing aids more easily available to people with some degree of hearing loss who may not otherwise be able to afford them. Users also won’t be required to present a prescription from an audiologist or other hearing health professional to get them.

However, members of some hearing health industry associations are concerned about consumers purchasing and using OTC hearing aids without first completing a hearing evaluation conducted by a hearing health professional.

They worry people might damage their ears from overamplification or simply not get a positive result with the products and give up on hearing aids altogether. That has many social and health implications.

However, the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) openly supports a regulated market for OTC hearing aids.

Reference: Forbes (Aug. 16, 2022) “FDA Rule Allows Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids To Hit Shelves As Soon As October, Improving Access Nationwide”

 

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Does Inflation Reduction Act have Impact on Seniors?

For the first time in Medicare’s history, the amount of money beneficiaries in drug plans will have to pay for their prescriptions each year will be capped. That’s thanks to provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

AARP’s recent article entitled “Big Changes Coming to Medicare Part D Plans” explains that, as with many of the other provisions in the new Inflation Reduction Act, the changes to Part D out-of-pocket spending will roll out over the next several years. Let’s look at how the new cost-sharing rules will work and when the savings will start.

Out-of-pocket costs capped. The maximum amount seniors will have to pay out of pocket for prescription drugs each year will be $2,000. This limit applies if you get your prescription drugs through a stand-alone Part D plan, or if you access your Medicare through a private Medicare Advantage plan. Most of those MA plans also cover prescription drugs. If what Medicare Part D spends on prescription drugs per enrollee increases, that $2,000-a-year cap could also rise. If your Part D or MA plan has a prescription drug deductible, that will count toward the cap.

Another change to the Medicare drug benefit that starts in 2025 is the requirement that Part D plans offer enrollees the option of what is called smoothed cost-sharing. This means you can opt to have your out-of-pocket costs spread out over the year, which is aimed at protecting seniors from being hit with such a big drug bill at one time that it may discourage them from filling their prescriptions.

Premium increases are limited. Starting in 2024 and continuing through 2029, Part D premiums can’t increase by more than 6% a year. In 2022, the national average Part D premium is $33.37 a month. The amount of these premiums varies widely, depending on where you live and what plan you select.

Insulin charges are restricted. Beginning in 2023, copays for a 30-day supply of any insulin that a Medicare drug plan covers will be capped at $35. Part D plans will be required to adhere to the $35 copay limit, even if an enrollee hasn’t met their annual deductible.

Many vaccines will be free. Starting on January 1, 2023, Medicare enrollees won’t have any out-of-pocket costs for vaccines that the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends for adults. Medicare Part B, which applies to doctor visits, diagnostic tests and other outpatient services, already fully covers some vaccines, including flu shots, pneumonia vaccines, hepatitis B inoculations and coronavirus vaccines (initial shots as well as boosters). However, other vaccines, most notably the expensive vaccine for shingles, are covered under the Part D prescription drug plans, and many of those plans currently require enrollees to share the cost of those shots. The new law eliminates that cost-sharing.

Reference: AARP (August 15, 2022) “Big Changes Coming to Medicare Part D Plans”

 

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Did Naomi Judd Leave Her Children Out of Estate Plan?

Naomi Judd, the country icon, who died by suicide in April at age 76, appointed her husband Larry Strickland as the executor of her $25 million estate. According to a recent article titled “Why Naomi Judd may have cut Ashley Judd and Wynona Judd out of will” from yahoo! entertainment, there was no mention of her daughters in her will.

In addition to her husband of thirty-three years, Naomi Judd named her brother-in-law Reginald Strickland and Kris Wiatr, president of Wiatr & Associates, as co-executors, in the event her husband is unable to serve.

Ashley and Wynonna are not mentioned at all in the document. One news source reports that Wynonna was upset about being excluded from the will, since she believes she was a major force behinds Naomi’s success. For many years, Wynonna and Naomi performed together as The Judds. No comments were made to yahoo! entertainment’s request by representatives for either Ashley or Wynonna.

It’s common for spouses in a long-term marriage to leave all of their assets to their surviving partner. However, it’s also possible there were tax incentives involved.

The primary concern of the spouse is to be sure the surviving spouse has enough assets to live on comfortably, maintaining the same standard of living as they enjoyed during the decedent’s lifetime.

It’s also likely Naomi understood the burden of executing a complex estate valued at $25 million would be a big responsibility and one she didn’t want her daughters to take on, in addition to their own busy musical careers.

Taxes may have been Naomi’s other concern. With a federal tax exemption of $12,060,000 of total assets during life and after death, it makes sense to pass an estate twice that size to a spouse. It is also possible that Naomi had already given away the full federal exemption during her lifetime and giving the assets to her spouse would have been the only way to prevent estate taxes from being incurred until after his death.

An equally big question is, what happened to Naomi’s songwriting catalog? It’s likely Naomi was a half owner of the Judd’s songwriting and performance rights. If they weren’t left to Wynonna, then Wynonna will own half the rights and Mr. Strickland will own the other half.

One last note: while a will becomes part of the public record when it is filed in court as part of probate, trusts remain private. If Naomi Judd sought to protect her personal financial business, she may have done so by transferring property through trusts or other means.

You don’t have to be a celebrity to protect your privacy with an estate plan incorporating trusts and other means of transferring assets. Speak with an estate planning attorney to protect your family and property.

Reference: yahoo! entertainment (Aug. 2, 2022) “Why Naomi Judd may have cut Ashley Judd and Wynona Judd out of will”

 

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Wayward Senior Tracked by Bluetooth Technology

Bluetooth – The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office recently received a report of a missing adult in the Hernando Beach area.

According to the agency, the elderly man, who suffers from dementia, was reported missing by his wife at about 7:30 in the morning.

Units were dispatched within minutes, reports WTSP.com, in the article entitled “’Technology is one of the best tools…’: Missing elderly man found through Bluetooth tracking device.”

The sheriff’s office said this wasn’t the first time the man has been reported missing.

This time, his wife was prepared: she attached a Bluetooth tracking device to her husband’s belt.

Bluetooth is a type of wireless technology that allows the exchange of data between different devices, such as two cellphones.

Because she planted the device, she was able to give deputies a location to where to find her husband.

Law enforcement was able to locate the man by 7:54 a.m.

He was returned safely home to his family.

“With the high heat index this time of year and the multiple access points to water in the area, we are thankful for this assistance of technology in order to locate this individual within 18 minutes,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a statement.

The sheriff’s office says tracking devices like the one used in this incident can give families peace of mind when caring for a senior with mental health issues, by being able to monitor their location.

“Whether it is a child with special needs or a senior who is forgetful, there are usually warning signs that a person is prone to wandering,” Sheriff Al Nienhuis said in a statement.

“Technology is one of the best tools family members can use to alert them when that individual has unexpectedly left the house.”

“It also provides invaluable tools to increase the likelihood the person will be returned safely. We strongly encourage families to research what technology is right for their situation.”

Reference: WTSP.com (August 8, 2022) “’Technology is one of the best tools…’: Missing elderly man found through Bluetooth tracking device”

 

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Scammers Try to Take Senior for a Ride

An 80-year-old senior woman figured out she was being scammed before going to the bank, after receiving an email from fraudsters who hired an Uber to take her there.

However, the story is a stark reminder of the extent to which thieves will go to scam the elderly, says Krebs on Security’s recent article entitled “Scammers Sent Uber to Take Elderly Lady to the Bank.”

Travis Hardaway said his mother last month replied to an email she received regarding an appliance installation from BestBuy. He said the timing of the scam email couldn’t have been worse, since his mom’s dishwasher had just died. She’d paid to have a new one delivered and installed.

“I think that’s where she got confused, because she thought the email was about her dishwasher installation,” Hardaway said.

Hardaway said his mom initiated a call to the phone number listed in the phony BestBuy email. The scammers told her she owed $160 for the installation, which seemed about right. However, they then asked her to install remote administration software on her computer, so that they could control the machine from afar and assist her in making the payment.

After she logged into her bank and savings accounts with scammers watching her screen, the fraudster on the phone claimed that instead of pulling $160 out of her account, they accidentally transferred $160,000 to her account. They said they needed her help to make sure the money was “returned.”

“They took control of her screen and said they had accidentally transferred $160,000 into her account,” Hardaway said. “The person on the phone told her he was going to lose his job over this transfer error, that he didn’t know what to do. So, they sent her some information about where to wire the money and asked her to go to the bank. However, she told them, ‘I don’t drive,’ and they told her, “No problem, we’re sending an Uber to come help you to the bank.’”

Her son was out of town when this happened. Thankfully, his mom eventually grew exasperated and gave up trying to help the scammers.

“They told her they were sending an Uber to pick her up and that it was on its way,” Hardaway said. “I don’t know if the Uber ever got there. However, my mom went over to the neighbor’s house and they saw it for what it was — a scam.”

Hardaway said he has since wiped her computer, reinstalled the operating system and changed her passwords. However, he says the incident has left his mom rattled.

“She’s really second-guessing herself now,” Hardaway said. “She’s not computer-savvy, and just moved down here from Boston during COVID to be near us, but she’s living by herself and feeling isolated and vulnerable, and stuff like this doesn’t help.”

According to the FBI, seniors are often the targets of scams because they tend to be trusting and polite. They also usually have financial savings, own a home and have good credit—all of which make them attractive to scammers.

“Additionally, seniors may be less inclined to report fraud because they don’t know how, or they may be too ashamed of having been scammed,” the FBI warned in May. “They might also be concerned that their relatives will lose confidence in their abilities to manage their own financial affairs. And when an elderly victim does report a crime, they may be unable to supply detailed information to investigators.”

Reference: Krebs on Security (Aug. 4, 2022) “Scammers Sent Uber to Take Elderly Lady to the Bank”

 

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Actress Helen McCory Leaves Money in Trust

Late British actress Helen McCrory left her entire $1 million estate in the name of her husband and actor Damian Lewis and their two children. The will states that the Harry Potter star had put her money into a trust.

Her will appointed Damian as one of the trustees of the 125-year-long fund – along with HM the Queen’s bankers Coutts – with the power to make payments out of the trust to himself and the other beneficiaries.

SK Pop’s recent article entitled “What was Helen McCrory’s net worth at the time of her death?” reports that her children, Manon (15), and Gulliver (14), along with any future grandchildren, have been named beneficiaries.

Helen McCrory, who last starred in Netflix’s Peaky Blinders, died in April 2021 after secretly battling breast cancer for years. She was 52 and had been married to Lewis since 2007.

Her net worth was combined with her husband’s and was around $25 million at the time of her death.

In 2017, Helen was awarded an OBE for her services in drama. McCrory  was most remembered for playing Aunt Polly, the Shelby family matriarch in Netflix’s crime drama series Peaky Blinders. She died during the filming of the show’s final season.

She also starred as Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series and played roles in Skyfall and the 2006 film The Queen.

McCrory received many accolades during her lifetime, including a BAFTA award for Streetlife (1995), a Broadcasting Press Guild Award for North Square and a Golden FIPA at the Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming.

The National Theatre’s artistic director Rufus Norris said she was “unquestionably one of the great actors of her generation.”

McCrory and Lewis made contributions during the pandemic and helped raise $1.8 million for Feed NHS.

Her actor husband was the Emmy Award-winning star of Band of Brothers, Homeland and Wolf Hall.

Reference: SK Pop (July 23, 2022) “What was Helen McCrory’s net worth at the time of her death?”

 

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