Elizabeth Taylor's death is an estate planning reminder

Iconic movie star Elizabeth Taylor's death last week is a reminder of the importance of a solid estate plan. The Academy Award winner was known for her many films, husbands, and extensive jewelry collection. Taylor is also remembered as the first major Hollywood star to join the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Elizabeth Taylor amassed an extensive $600 million estate over her life. She successfully invested the money from her films and jewelry line, and her wishes are now being carried out after her death because of shrewd estate planning.

"Elizabeth was a very shrewd investor with her money," an insider told the Sun-Times. The insider said that Taylor was an active real estate investor and that she was a close and successful stock market follower.

An experienced estate planning attorney can help individuals carry out their final charitable donations and divide their assets appropriately through the use of a will and trusts. An estate plan can include specific provisions for a funeral ceremony and even auctions of unneeded assets to help pay for estate expenses.

The Sun-Times reports that at least one auction will be held of Elizabeth Taylor's estate. The major auction will include portions of her iconic jewelry collection, couture wardrobe pieces, and famous film costumes.

A bulk of the auction proceeds will go towards estate taxes. The funds from the auction will also help support the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and The Foundation for AIDS Research, an organization that she co-founded.

A private family service was held at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California. The service was reportedly conducted by Rabbi Jerry Cutler. A larger public ceremony is planned for the coming weeks.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Elizabeth Taylor's last wish was privacy," Bill Zwecker, 3/25/11

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