Michael Crichton’s Will – A Change From The Normal

Finally – FINALLY – we get a report of a celebrity who has passed away with some proper estate planning in place. Read this, and then come back.

I apologize that the link is coming from TMZ (a bit exploitive), but it’s worth it to show what happens with proper planning. Rather than hear a story about how someone failed to provide for people after their death, or learn the intimate details of who was getting what, when and how (traditional, public wills) – we get a will that says exactly what it should say: everything left to the living trust.

Now, I can only hope that there were few or no assets left in Crichton’s individual name. (A proper trust is one that is fully-funded with the decedent’s assets.) Assuming that’s true, Crichton accomplished a few, incredible things. First, he totally or near totally avoided the time and expense of probating a will. If he owned property in more than one state (as the wealthy often do) and transferred title to the living trust, he avoided having to probate each of those properties in the states where they lie.

Second, he ensured that the administration of his estate took more like 15 minutes than 15 months. Third, he left a portion of his estate totally and completely protected from creditors and predators.

Actually, I can go on and on with the benefits, but it makes me so happy (really it does) to see someone has invested the time and money while they were still alive to make the transition smoother for them in the future.

As I say to my clients all the time, it’s much easier for you to take care of these things while you’re alive and well than it will ever be for your family to do it when you’re gone, if you don’t.

Finally, check out the comments on that news piece I posted – there was someone who recognized that he did some proper planning.