Thursday, October 1, 2009

Heath Ledgers Estate Planning

By Shawn Chandok

The Mysterious Life Insurance Policy
On January 22, 2008 Australian actor Heath Ledger, was found dead in his four bedroom apartment by his housekeeper. Although there has been controversy over whether it was a suicide or accidental prescription drug overdose, the fact of the matter remains he is no more. However, one of the main reasons there was so much controversy over the mystery of his death is because of the fact that he took out a $10 million life insurance policy only two years before his death. Excluding his assets, this policy would provide $10 million to his 2 year old daughter and beneficiary, Matilda.

The Will
Initially Heath Ledger had written his will 2 years before his marriage with Michelle leaving everything behind to his parents and sisters. However, due to some legal calamities lawyers argued that it should be re-evaluated to include Michelle. Finally, after constant family disputes, Kim and Sally ledger (parents of Heath Ledger) finally agreed with Michelle Williams that Heath’s estate would too be inherited by Matilda. However, what struck me as the most interesting was the fact that when Heath “signed the will on April 12, 2003 it listed assets and cash of just $118,000, but the actor's estate is believed to be worth more than $16.3 million.” This value is preceding his role in the famous movie “The Dark Knight,” which we all know as one of the most profitable movies ever created. In conclusion, although things came out for the best for Heaths wife and daughter, all the problems and controversy could have been avoided if Heath managed his wealth with strategic estate planning.



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