The Truth Of Frank Sinatra?s Living Trust
Frank Sinatra died May 14, 1998, at the age of 82 after suffering a heart attack.
Like the song, Frank Sinatra did his Last Will his way.
The Last Will, dated May 1, 1993, divides most of Sinatra's Considerable Estate between his fourth wife, Barbara Marx, and his three children, Frank Jr., Nancy and Tina.
The Frank Sinatra zinger is that since he was aware of the significant Animosity Between His Children, who were products of his first marriage to Nancy Barbato, and his wife, Sinatra included a clause in his Last Will that automatically disinherits anyone who contests it. That means the heirs will have to make nice if they want to collect. No one who was mentioned in Sinatra's Last Will took advantage of the first opportunity to challenge it in court. A lawyer for the estate's executors credits a no-contest clause in the Last Will with being a "substantial deterrent" to any challenges.
"Anyone knows if they want to challenge the Last Will, they better succeed because if they failthey are going to disinherit themselves completely," said lawyer Andrew Garb.
The most contentious of the provisions in the Last Will is the issue of who may merchandise Frank?s name, a valuable asset since his brand name appears on a Huge Volume of merchandise. The Last Will gives this asset to Frank?s fourth wife Barbara, whereas in the latter part of his life it was controlled by his daughter Tina. Frank obviously knew that this change in direction would cause even more friction between his families.
It is significant that the bulk of Sinatra's Net Worth- between $200 and $600 million - was set aside in a living trust enacted before his death. The living trust has significant tax advantages for the beneficiaries. Furthermore, unlike the Last Will, which is subject to a review in probate court and is therefore a public document, the contents of the living trust are confidential ? also something Frank would like. It is known that the children received rights to most of their dad's lucrative music catalog.
Ol' Blue Eyes also added $1 million to a living trust fund established earlier for his two grandchildren. Most of his estate had previously been put into a living trust, separate to the grandchildren's trust.
In that fund, known as a living trust, Sinatra's Children were given rights to much of the singer's music catalogue.
Sinatra's attorney, Harvey Silbert said: "There are very Substantial Assets in the trust."
Here are other provisions of the Last Will:
? Barbara, his wife of 22 years, gets $3.5 million in assets, along with mansions in Beverly Hills and Malibu and a ranch near Palm Springs. She also receives rights to Sinatra's Trilogy recordings, most of his material possessions and control over his name and likeness.
? Frank Jr., Nancy and Tina get $200,000 in cash each, as well as stock. Their mother Nancy Barbato, Frank?s first wife, gets $250,000.
? Frank Jr. gets the rights to Frank Sr.?s sheet music.
? Robert Marx, Barbara's son from her marriage to Zeppo Marx, gets $100,000. Sinatra's friends Elvina Joubert and Dorothy Uhlemann get $150,000 and $50,000, respectively. His best friend Jilly Rizzo was supposed to collect $100,000, but he died in 1992 and was removed from the Last Will.
Sinatra's Attorney, Harvey Silbert, discounted earlier reports that the entertainer was leaving $150 million to Barbara Sinatra's Children Center, and there was no indication of such a donation in the Last Will.
About the Author: Jeffrey Broobin is a free-lance writer on family and finance issues; his main goal is to help people during their complicated period of life.
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