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Estate and Elder Law

Importance of a prenuptial for the Playboy tycoon - and the rest of us

Playboy tycoon Hugh Hefner, 86, and Crystal Harris were to be married in June 2011. Harris, however, abruptly called it off, announcing plans to auction off her engagement ring.

But the runaway bride has returned. On New Year's Eve the two tied the knot in California. Harris is 60 years his junior.

Did they have a prenuptial agreement? There are unconfirmed reports that they did. Certainly with Hefner's reported net worth of $43 million, his 4 adult children from prior marriages, his interest in his legacy, and the obvious age difference, he would be wise to have one.  Even if Hefner and Harris enjoy a beautiful married life, the in-your-face fact is that it will not be a long one. Upon his death, Harris would be entitled to an elective share of his assets. They married in California. In Florida, the elective share percentage is 30% of the augmented estate, plus certain rights to the homestead property. The only way to waive these rights is with a valid prenuptial agreement. We do not know the content of the couple's prenuptial, if one exists, but rumor has it that one of the provisions is for Harris to move out of the famous Playboy mansion in Holmby Hills in the event of divorce or Hefner's death.

Hefner's recent marriage illustrates what I see often in my Florida estate planning practice: couples marrying later in life, often bringing their own assets to the marriage, often with their own children and grandchildren from prior marriages. In these cases, the proper estate planning is essential to ensure that each spouse's assets go to the people of their choosing, and a prenuptial agreement sometimes has a role to play in the planning process. The Karp Law Firm can advise you.

Attorney Joseph S. Karp is a Florida Bar Certified and Nationally Certified Elder Law Attorney focusing on Elder Law, Probate, Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Special Needs Planning and Estate Litigation. He is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell. Mr. Karp is the founder of The Karp Law Firm, a South Florida law firm with offices in Palm Beach Gardens, Boynton Beach and St. Lucie, Florida.  Mr. Karp was named a 2011 SuperLawyer by SuperLawyer Magazine and a member of the 2011 Florida Legal Elite by Florida Trend Magazine. He is admitted to practice law in New York as well as Florida. Visit Mr. Karp's Florida Elder Law and Estate Planning website. 


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