“Take care of yourself, and each other.”
I was shocked to hear the news that Gerald (Jerry) Norman Springer, the legendary talk show host, passed away on April 27, 2023 after being diagnosed with cancer several months ago. He’s survived by his daughter, Katie Springer, 47, who he had with his ex-wife Micki Velton. To remember Jerry, the family asks that in lieu of flowers, people consider following his spirit and donate or commit to an act of kindness to someone in need or a worthy advocacy organization.
Our CSO, Nicole, at a Jerry Springer show in 2016!
Before we dive into the details of Jerry's estate, let's take a moment to reflect on the man himself.
Jerry was a force to be reckoned with, a true icon in the world of television. He brought us some of the most memorable moments in talk show history, from fistfights to secret love affairs. He was a master of drama, and he did it all with a smirk on his face. He leaves behind a fortune – sources estimate that it ranges from $60 million to $75 million.
His fortune was amassed over a long and storied career. Before becoming a colorful and controversial talk show host, Springer was a politician. He went to Northwestern University School of Law and went on to become a lawyer. His first encounter with politics took place when he began working for the campaign of Robert Kennedy in 1968. He then went on to serve on Cincinnati’s City Council in 1971. He ultimately was elected as the city’s 56th mayor in 1977 but served only one term.
His broadcasting career started with politics as well. He became a political reporter on WLWT where he became Cincinnati's number-one news anchor. The famous TV show we know and love, Jerry Springer, premiered on September 30th, 1991, and the original focus was to be a politically oriented talk show. It wasn't until 1994 that the show was then revamped to boost ratings and became what we know today. From his decades-long career as a talk show host to his brief stint in politics, Jerry Springer has certainly led a colorful life. And his estate is no exception!
Although we do not know exactly what is in his estate, I would like to paint a picture of how I would imagine Springer’s home to have looked.
For starters, the entrance to his sprawling estate would have a larger-than-life image of Jerry's face, with the words "Jerry Springer Show" emblazoned in bright red letters above it. It's certainly a statement piece, to say the least.
Now let’s imagine we make our way through the gates; you’ll find a full-sized wrestling ring, complete with ropes and turnbuckles, where Jerry used to work out with his friends maybe even some of the guests on the show. There's also a fully stocked bar, complete with neon signs and a jukebox that's always playing classic rock tunes.
I can picture it now, the walls of his home are adorned with photographs and mementos from some of his most memorable shows, including a framed copy of the infamous "I Married a Horse" episode. Oh, the controversy.
Despite all the zany elements I have imagined for Springer's estate, it's clear that he took estate planning seriously. The estate is well-organized and meticulously maintained, with clear instructions for how his assets should be distributed. And while his legacy may be defined by his wild and wacky talk show antics, there's no denying that Jerry Springer was a savvy businessman who knew how to plan for the future.
What Would Jerry's Estate Plan Look Like?
Certainly, as an estate planning attorney, I can’t help but think about what I would have suggested for Jerry’s estate plan. I would at minimum have discussed setting up a Will, Healthcare Proxy, Power of Attorney, and a Family Trust for him.
One of the first things we would discuss is the use of a Family Trust. A Trust can help protect assets and ensure that they are distributed according to Jerry's wishes. With a Family Trust, Jerry can appoint a trustee to manage the trust and distribute assets to his beneficiaries. The Trust can also help avoid probate, which can be time-consuming and expensive. This can be particularly important for high-net-worth individuals like Mr. Springer, as it can help to minimize potential liabilities and provide greater control over the distribution of assets.
I would also recommend a Will, which is a legal document that outlines how an individual's assets should be distributed after their death. In many cases, a Will is used in conjunction with a Family Trust to ensure that the individual's assets are passed down according to their wishes and to minimize the potential for family fights.
We would also discuss a healthcare proxy and power of attorney. A healthcare proxy is a legal document that designates someone to make medical decisions on Jerry's behalf if he is unable to do so. A power of attorney is a legal document that designates someone to manage Jerry's financial affairs if he is unable to do so.
Given Mr. Springer's high-profile status and the potential for unforeseen medical emergencies or incapacitation, I would have recommended that he consider setting up both a health proxy and power of attorney. This can help to ensure that his wishes are respected and that decisions are made in his best interests, even if he is unable to make those decisions himself.
There’s no denying that he left behind a legacy. He entertained millions of viewers throughout his career, and his impact on pop culture will be felt for generations to come. So, as we bid farewell to Jerry and his estate, let's raise a glass to the man who brought us so much laughter and drama over the years. Rest in peace, Jerry. And as he always said, “Take care of yourself, and each other.”
Overall, estate planning can be complex, particularly for individuals with significant assets or complex family situations. As an estate planning attorney, I would be happy to work with anyone to develop a comprehensive estate plan that meets their unique needs and objectives. It is important to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that all documents are properly drafted and executed.
Make sure you are prepared for the unexpected. Set up your Strategic Planning Session with us today to begin your estate planning. You can schedule your session by giving us a call at 978-487-5219 or by booking an appointment online at BookMyPlanningSession.com!