The Mystery Behind Larry King’s Will: A Lesson In Estate Planning

We talk about updating your estate plan each time your life changes. We have also discussed leaving behind an estate plan to avoid creating significant challenges for your loved ones. Larry King faced numerous changes throughout his life. 

  • He was married eight times to seven women. 
  • He had five children, nine grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
  • He didn’t meet one of his children (Larry King Jr.) until his son was in his 30s. 
  • He lost $2.8 million to Bernie Madoff.
  • He went through bankruptcy twice. 
  • Two of his oldest children passed away in 2020. 
  • His birth name wasn’t Larry King. 

The last point has nothing to do with this article, but it adds to the complexity of his life. (He was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger.) Though his life and family may have required some unique estate planning considerations, he had several updated plans. He passed away on January 23, 2021, but he wrote the following in October 2019:


“This is my Last Will & Testament. It should replace all my previous writings. In the event of my death, any day after the above date [Sic] I want 100% of my funds to be divided equally among my children Andy, Chaia, Larry Jr [Sic] Chance & Cannon.”


It Gets More Complicated

Can letters like the one serve as a will? Yes, they could. Typically, you will name an executor in your will, but that note does not designate one. Though his oldest children could step in, they passed away before him, making Larry King Jr. the oldest surviving sibling. However, the role of the executor is to ensure that the estate’s creditors have been paid. Larry King Jr. borrowed almost $250,000 of his share of the estate during Larry King’s lifetime. Could he be impartial enough to distribute the estate fairly? Who receives the money that Larry King left to the children who predeceased him? 


The Aftermath & Takeaways

Larry King was in the middle of a divorce when he passed away. His wife, Shawn King, had been married to him for over two decades, but the letter he left behind didn’t include her. She claims that because Larry had a stroke before writing his letter, he didn’t have the mental capacity to do it. 

Although your estate may not be as complicated as Larry King’s, there is nothing uncommon about marrying, divorcing, remarrying, and having children. Regardless of your circumstances, there is a way to sort it out by allowing a qualified attorney to create an estate plan that meets your needs. Though we don’t know for certain, Larry King was likely trying to avoid the situation that developed after his passing. Having good intentions is the first step. The second is meeting with us to have them appropriately expressed through estate planning. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation with us today.

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