Statistics show that basic estate planning mistakes are common—and not just among “ordinary” people. Even the rich and famous can err, sometimes gravely. In recent years, we’ve seen headlines about celebrities who died without any estate planning measures in place at all—celebrities like Aretha Franklin and Prince, whose deaths came with no written will. And if you look back further, you’ll find that the same estate planning errors were made by a host of other celebrities—even people like Jimi Hendrix and Abraham Lincoln!
But just because famous people make these estate planning errors, that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. You can secure a better future for your successors by hiring an attorney who can assist you with advanced estate planning services—ensuring that you avoid all of these common pitfalls.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the estate planning errors that are common among celebrities—and show what you can do to avoid them.
The Absence of a Will
In terms of estate planning errors, there’s nothing more basic (or more damaging) than dying without a will in place.
We’ve seen this in the headlines. When Prince died, there was much confusion about what would happen to his music, his material assets, and the custodianship of his legacy—all because he didn’t lay anything out in a will. Similar conversations are now unfolding about the legacy of Aretha Franklin.
Again, this isn’t anything celebrity-specific. According to recent polls, more than 50 percent of American adults lack a will, many of them assuming that they don’t need one or that they will have time to make one later. (Gallup’s numbers are even more frightening, showing that nearly 60 percent of Americans do not have a will.)
Everyone should have a will in order to guide the distribution of their assets, and to keep their estate from entering probate. You can’t assume that the state will divide your estate in the way you’d want them to!
And as for the belief that you can write your will later, remember that Prince died unexpectedly, as did Tom Petty and so many others. Don’t wait for later because none of us are guaranteed that later will come! Hire an estate planning attorney to make your will now, while you can.
No Power of Attorney
It’s also important to remember that estate planning isn’t just about deciding what will happen with your material assets. Estate planning is also about what happens should you ever become incapacitated—for instance, if you wind up in a coma.
You’ll need someone who you can trust to make key financial and legal decisions for you. That’s what a Power of Attorney is all about, and specifying your Power of Attorney is an important step in the estate planning process.
Again, this is something that is too often neglected. Without a Power of Attorney in place, you have no one to guide those key decisions and ensure that your wishes are upheld, a fate that befalls many celebrities and non-celebrities alike. Again, you’ll want to work with expert estate planning services to guarantee you have a Power of Attorney in place.
Undefined Healthcare Directives
In addition to financial and legal decisions, you need someone who can make key healthcare decisions for you should you become incapacitated. These decisions might entail things like when life support should or should not be administered.
Healthcare directives can be used to lay out your wishes and to denote the individual you trust to make these decisions on your behalf. Again, when you neglect this aspect of estate planning, you leave yourself vulnerable to legal confusion, and risk your wishes not being carried out. Hire an estate planning attorney who can help you put healthcare directives into place.
The Consequences of Inaction
The bottom line is that failing to establish an estate plan can have dire consequences, not just for you but also for your heirs. This is something we’ve seen play out many times with prominent celebrities. From legal woes to huge tax burdens to a lack of medical direction, the consequences for basic estate planning mistakes can truly be massive.
To avoid such errors, reach out to the expert estate planning services at Singh Law Firm. Our attorneys can help make sure you are prepared for anything, and that you have all the estate planning documentation that you need.
Our advanced estate planning services include expertise in wills, trusts, Powers of Attorney, advanced healthcare directives, special needs trust management, and more. Learn more about protecting yourself and your family by contacting Singh Law Firm, a top probate and estate planning law firm in California, at your next convenience.