The entertainment industry lost a true legend last month when Dick Clark died on April 18, 2012. Dick Clark was arguably one of the most influential entertainment icons of all time. Clark is survived by his third wife, Keri Wigton, and his three children. He died of a massive heart attack following a medical procedure at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California.
Clark was most widely recognized for hosting American Bandstand, which ran on ABC from 1957 to 1987 and hosted acts ranging from ABBA to the Beastie Boys. He also established Dick Clark Productions which produced hit shows such as “The $25,000 Pyramid” and the “American Music Awards”. And, perhaps the greatest contribution he is known for today is as the longstanding host of the televised News Years Eve countdown in Time Square.
In 2004, Clark suffered a stroke that affected his ability to walk and speak. While that may have stopped most of us, it did not stop Dick Clark. His seemingly endless amounts of energy earned him the nickname “World’s oldest teenager”.
Clark’s years of hard work and perseverance paid off as his net worth has been estimated by various media outlets at between $100 - $200 million. Not only did he have success in the entertainment world but he also thrived in other investments, such as real estate in southern California.
At the time of his death, Clark was 82 years old. Considering his age and previous medical history one might wonder if he felt the time was coming. It is too early to know what, if any, estate planning Dick Clark had done, but with the time and energy he put into all aspects of his life, one may assume he had done the same with his estate planning. Proper and detailed planning will help to ensure that his legacy remains, it will also help avoid scandalous infighting and family feuds that too often occur.
While watching one of his shows, we typically are unaware of all of the detailed work that went into producing it. The same can be said for a proper estate plan. If we do not hear details about his beneficiaries or how his wealth is distributed then you can bet that he, with his advisors, produced an effective plan for his family and his legacy. Protecting privacy is a key factor in estate planning, especially for a celebrity such as Dick Clark.
Contributed by MH attorney West Hunsaker
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