Zsa Zsa Gabor Estate

Zsa Zsa Gabor is one of the latest celebrity deaths to sadden America.  The actress passed away at 99 years old and was known for being one of Hollywood’s first stars due to her colorful personality.  She was also known for her many marriages and divorces.

Gabor married nine times, which resulted in seven divorces and an annulment.  These complicated series of marriages and breakups has made her estate extremely interesting to estate planning attorneys.

Zsa Zsa’s ninth husband, Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt, will have to move out of Gabor’s luxurious Bel Air home where the actress lived for nearly 40 years.  What is interesting to note is that for the past three years the couple lived in the large bungalow even though they no longer owned the house.

The couple was likely strapped for cash and was able to find a buyer in 2012 that allowed Gabor and Anhalt to live in the home until death.  The couple paid $325,000 each year, and the new owner paid the mortgage.  Property records show the house sold in 2012 for $9 million and a judge authorized the sale in a transaction known as a “deferred transaction.”

Gabor’s only child was Francesca Hilton.  Hilton and Anhalt spent the last years of Gabor’s life fighting over finances and medical care.  The conflict came to a head when Anhalt announced that he wanted his then 94-year old wife to be a mother again and said the couple was seeking an egg donor to allow Gabor to become a surrogate mother.

Hilton’s attorney filed conservatorship paperwork in California’s probate court in 2012.  In California, a conservatorship allows a person to become a conservator.  A conservator has the right to make medical, financial, and other decisions for the ward under the supervision of the probate court.

Hilton also accused Anhalt of misusing Gabor’s finances.  Her primary allegation was that Anhalt allowed the house to go into foreclosure.  Gabor responded by holding a press conference where he stated that he and Gabor were $6 million in debt.  However, Anhalt was also famous for spending $70,000 on a billboard to commemorate the couple’s 25-year wedding anniversary and for holding lavish parties.  Anhalt also recently ran for governor of California in a costly campaign.

Reports showed that Gabor had multiple wills throughout her lifetime.  It should be interesting to see what happens when heirs try to use the will and they turn out to reflect diametrically opposed ways to handle the inheritance.

Tragically, Francesca Hilton predeceased her mother and died in 2015 at the age of 67.  Hilton fought with Anhalt for years over her mother’s care.  The battle became so bitter that Anhalt forbade Hilton from seeing her mother.  By this time Gabor suffered from dementia and lacked the ability to speak.  She did not know her daughter had passed away before she died.

Now the California probate courts have the long and arduous task of sorting through Gabor’s many wills, as well as dealing with her many creditors.  For more information on how to use estate planning to avoid long and expensive probate battles, contact Jacksonville estate planning attorney David Goldman today.

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