While out of the spotlight for many years, the vision of Zsa Zsa Gabor conjures up glamour, beauty and wealth…not to mention comedy. If you were a fan of “Green Acres, which ran from 1965-1971 she portrayed a city girl drafted into country life by her husband Oliver Wendell Douglas, played beautifully by Eddie Arnold. The couple said “goodbye to city life” and started a new life in Hooterville, USA. While the exact location was never made clear, it was the land of a TV watching pig (do you remember his name?), a swindler named Mr. Haney, and a land where a high society lady tried her hand at farming with a Manhattan Attorney turned all thumbs farmer. Each day brought new comedic sketches of new challenges and laughs…but Zsa Zsa’s story is vastly different now.
At age 94, Ms. Gabor is near death, as a result of a bad accident 10 years ago and natural aging. While she is tended to by nurses around the clock, her heirs from her past marriages(8) are already lining up staking their claim to her vast fortune, including her 15 million dollar house in Bel-Air- while she is alive and still living there. On one side (her side?) is her ninth (yes, you heard me…ninth) husband, a 68 year-old masseur turned aristocrat named Frederick Prinze Von Anhalt. (What do you think he was known as before Zsa? Freddie the Rub-Down Guy?) On the other side, her only daughter stand-up comedian Francesca Hilton, aunt of the (famous?) Paris Hilton.
The issue: outdated and multiple legal documents, like wills and trusts. Apparently, Zsa Zsa has changed her wills many times, as well as the terms and beneficiaries. It is now unclear as to who will get what, the sad thing being that the battle has begun even before she has passed on to the great stage beyond. It is sad to think that they may be arguing right in front of her, a mere shell of a person unable to defend herself or straighten them out, unable to tell them how she really feels. The main issue and lesson is to keep up on your legal documents, review them regularly, and update them with a qualified advisor to prevent this calamity and heartbreak from happening. Families are torn apart when money is involved, and the sheer tragedy of remaining family members losing their love to dollar signs is a common occurrence. If you have your wills and legal documents done, a full review should be done every 3 years or so to reflect any changes you may have in the period: new grandchildren, ,losing someone named in your will, bequests, charities- any life changes. It’s your money- you have the right to disburse it of your own choosing.
The lesson in all this? I could not impress upon you more the importance of keeping your wills, trusts and legal documents up to date. Your children and heirs will have a tough enough time dealing with the loss of your presence- please don’t leave them a mess to clean up. Let them love…not fight.
Happiness Quote Of The Day
“Happiness is not being pained in body nor troubled in mind.”