Lawyers in TV Land-- Attorneys turn book on family fortunes into PBS television special

By Christine Mobley

Legal News

"Trial and Heirs: Protect Your Family Fortune!" promises to be an entertaining and informative PBS television special hosted by local husband and wife legacy expert attorneys Danielle and Andrew Mayoras.

"Trial and Heirs: Protect Your Family Fortune!" is based on the Mayorases' 2009 book "Trial and Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!" which focuses on high-profile celebrity cases to highlight the importance of proper estate planning.

After introductions were made between PBS and the Mayorases, things moved rather quickly resulting in the decision to do a special based on their book.

"That was the easy part," Danielle said.

"From there it took a lot of time to hone the script - it's a lot different sharing things through the TV medium than it is through a book."

Even though the Mayorases have appeared on several different TV shows discussing "Trials and Heirs," -- including The Rachel Ray Show, Forbes, ABC's Live Well Network, NBC Chicago, WGN-TV, and Fox 2 Detroit -- doing an entire special was a first for them.

By examining high-profile celebrity cases, the Mayorases hope to teach everyday people how to protect their estates, no matter how big or small they may be.

"Estate planning is an uncomfortable topic for a lot of people," Andy said.

"The celebrity stories are a means to an end -- to get people motivated and informed about estate planning and understanding 'What's a will?....What's a trust?,' but in a non-threatening, easy to understand, entertaining way.

"That's always been our goal and that's what we try to do in the special."

"Our reason for writing the book was really to get the conversation started," Danielle said.

"So it's really exciting for us at this point to translate that into a different medium -- the TV -- which will hopefully get more conversations started, help more people and really reduce the conflict that is around all the time in the probate court and the family fighting.

"We made the book easy to digest for readers but I think that the show will be even easier to digest."

The special, taped at Detroit Public TV's studio in Wixom before a live studio audience, features a never-before-seen interview with celebrity heir Ray Charles Jr. who not only shared memories of his famous father but the pain that his father's estate has caused his family.

"Having those stories behind the public records was really, really different than the book," Danielle said.

"And to hear it in their voices -- it's one thing to talk about celebrities, it's another to have a celebrity heir come forward and say, 'This is the pain I've been through and this is what was like. I've never told my story before and here it is.'"

"It's amazing to us because whether it's a multi-billion dollar estate, it's the same exact same issues I deal with in my probate litigation practice. It's only the dollar figures that are changed," Andy points out.

"That's the beauty of these stories. They can teach everyone what to do and what not to do."

"Trial and Heirs: Protect Your Family Fortune!" aired on Tuesday, this week on Detroit Public TV (WTVS Channel 56).

The special can be seen nationwide in December. Check for listings in other areas.

The Mayorases are with the law firm of Barron, Rosenberg, Mayoras and Mayoras P.C. in Troy.

For more information about "Trial and Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!" and its authors, visit; "like" them on Facebook at!/trialandheirs; or follow Andy and Danielle on Twitter at @TrialAndHeirs.

Published: Thu, Aug 11, 2011


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