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Julie Garber

When Will Elizabeth Taylor's Will Be Admitted to Probate?

By April 3, 2011

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This may be a trick question since it was revealed last week that Elizabeth Taylor had a revocable living trust aptly named the "Elizabeth Taylor Trust," also known as "The Sothern Trust." According to the "Notice to Creditors of the Estate of Elizabeth Taylor" filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court on March 25, the current trustees of the trust are one of her attorneys, Barbara Berkowitz, her son, Christopher E. Wilding, and her personal assistant, Timothy R. Mendelson.

The purpose of the notice is for the creditors of Elizabeth Taylor to seek payment of their outstanding bills from the revocable living trust through its trustees. Aside from being filed in the probate court, the notice must be published in a local newspaper in order to notify any unknown creditors of the late actress's recent death. (OK, doesn't it seem silly in this case to have to publish the notice since all you have to do is turn on the TV to hear about Ms. Taylor's death? But rules are rules).

According to Radar Online, Elizabeth Taylor created the revocable living trust in 1998 because of a "near-death experience" on her 66th birthday when she fell and fractured her lower back. So because the governing document of Elizabeth Taylor's estate plan is a revocable living trust, her last will and testament, which is merely a pour-over will that will only require probate if there are any assets not titled in the name of the trust, may never be filed for probate. And only time will tell if the contents of the Elizabeth Taylor Trust, also known as The Sothern Trust, will be publicly revealed since the trust is a private document that can only be viewed by the trust's beneficiaries and trustees and their respective legal representatives and accountants.

April 17, 2011 at 3:07 pm
(1) Laurence Almand says:

This is yet another example why everyone, rich or not, should leave a proper will detailing who gets what. Such planning will save a lot of family rancor. Shrewd woman that she was, I’m sure Elizabeth left detailed instructions. I am curious as to why Dame Elizabeth’s jewels are being auctioned off instead of bequeathed to her two devoted daughters. We shall probably never know.

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