What We Can Learn from the Estate Planning Mistakes of Four Celebrities

There are four primary estate planning mistakes that individuals all across the wealth spectrum are guilty of but there are important lessons that can be drawn from celebrities who have made these mistakes as well.

Not Having a Will

Singer, Amy Winehouse, passed away without a will at age 27 leaving behind a $6.7 million estate. Recent news about the passing of artist, Prince has indicated that he may not have had a will, leaving his $300 million estate subject to taxes worth approximately 50% of its value.

Failing to Update Estate Plans Regularly

The experience of Michael Crichton’s heirs could teach you a lesson about failing to keep your documents current. When the Jurassic Park author passed away, his 2007 will was the last one on record. The will included specific language disinheriting any future children even though his wife was pregnant at the time.

Failing to Put Together a Trust

Whitney Houston did not use a living trust, meaning that her will was filed in probate court and a matter of public record. If you intend to keep your estate plans private, it’s a good idea to use a living trust to do so.

Not Planning Ahead for Disability

Blues artist, Etta James, signed her power of attorney when it was unclear whether or not she had the mental competency to do so. Due to this, her son and her spouse fought one another in court over whether or not this authorization was valid or not. An appropriately drafted power of attorney gives your loved ones the authority to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf if you are not able but it is imperative that you consider what elements can help you prove the validity of such a document when you create one.

Contact an experienced New Jersey estate planning attorney today to help avoid some of these mistakes and to capitalize on planning ahead for your future.