Mary Kennedy was found dead this Wednesday, May 16th in Bedford, New York. The Westchester County medical examiner stated that the cause of death was asphyxiation due to hanging. Mary was the second wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a prominent environmental lawyer and the third of eleven children by Ethel and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who was shot and killed in 1968. Funeral services for Mary are to be held this Saturday at the St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church inBedford.
Although estranged from her husband Robert Kennedy, the couple was still legally married at the time of her death. Her husband had filed for divorce almost exactly two years ago. Two days after he filed the divorce Mary was arrested for driving while intoxicated, later getting the criminal charge dismissed and the status changed to a violation.
Mary had faced on-going struggles with alcohol abuse as well as bouts of depression. The Kennedy family in general has been struck with a number of tragic deaths. Laurence Learner, a Kennedy biographer stated, “We know from a history of this family, it’s very hard being a Kennedy, either being a blood Kennedy or being married to one. The overwhelming celebrity, the attention, the obligations, the expectations that you’re supposed to do something with your life. It’s very, very hard.”
As Mary’s attorney has already been involved in the occurring events, especially to verify that the couple was indeed still married, it is likely that she has an estate plan in place. However, we are constantly surprised by the number of celebrities that retain personal attorneys and still fail to create a viable estate plan. Due to her situation, an estate plan will be vital. Because she was estranged from her husband for two years, she may not have wanted the estate to pass to him, which would generally occur since they were still legally married. With an estate plan in place, she could assure that her portion of the assets went directly to their children, if such was her desire. In situations such as these, it is especially important to create estate planning documents and ensure they are regularly updated to incorporated life’s many changes.
We wish her loved ones peace at this time of loss and that they will find comfort in one another. Rest in peach, Mary Kennedy.
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