Dame Elizabeth Taylor, two-time Academy award winning actress, philanthropist and jewelry enthusiast, passed away from congestive heart failure at the age of 79. Among her many accomplishments,Taylor was also known as a very shrewd investor and business woman. She created a number of resources to provide her with a substantial regular income, including her popular perfume line which earned an estimated $69 million per year. Ms. Taylor was known as the first celebrity to “brand” her persona, making a profit off the notoriety of her name.
After much speculation, it is now clear that Ms. Taylor was as careful and attentive in her estate planning matters as she was in her business endeavors. Taylor had very specific wishes for her estate, and with her complex situation and large estate, it was especially important that she create a secure estate plan to make certain her wishes were carried out. For these purposes she created a revocable living trust entitled the “Elizabeth Taylor Trust”. This trust will provide protection for her assets, ensure her estate is passed according to her wishes and maintain privacy from the media and public. Without a living trust, her estate would have to pass through probate, making public the information regarding her assets, beneficiaries, debts and any specific designations.
Taylor’s estate was initially speculated to value between $600 million and $1 billion. Recent estimates put the estate at approximately $760 million, including $150 million in jewelry. Ms. Taylor’s impressive jewelry collection, clothes, film memorabilia and other valuables are set to be auctioned at famed auction house Christie’s – an arrangement Taylor put in place several years ago. Her combined estate is expected to be split mainly between her four children, 10 grand children and the American Foundation for AIDS research and the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation – both of which were founded byTaylor. It is assumed that both her manager and her beloved Maltese dog Daisy are also provided for in the estate plan.
Ms. Taylor began her career as a child actor at the age of 12, skyrocketing into success as she started playing mature roles at 17 years old. While her list of films is extensive, she had much of her greatest success and notoriety from her many films co-starring with Richard Burton – including Cleopatra, through which Taylor became the highest paid actress by signing a contract for $1 million. Burton became one of Taylor’s seven husbands and made up two of her eight marriages.
A timeless beauty,Taylor mesmerized all she met with her “double eyelashes”, violet eyes and her passionate and kind temperament. She was a firm believer in human rights and had a large part in a number of charitable endeavors. Taylor captivated millions during her lifetime and her legacy will continue on as one of Hollywood’s brightest stars.
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