To be completely honest, estate planning can be a tricky task to tackle.  Those who actually make an attempt at developing an estate plan have made a big step because many people never even take the first step towards estate planning.  A huge number of people have no Will, and the majority of them have children.  Dying without a Will means leaving the well-being of your children unprotected.

Without a well-drafted Will, your unexpected death may mean that your teenage son ends up having access to significant amounts of money when he is not yet capable of making good decisions with that money.  Likewise, your small children might end up being given to a family member that you would not want raising your children in your absence.

Even if you have a simple estate, you should still have a simple estate plan.  A simple Will allows you to choose when your children will receive your money and who will care for your children if you are suddenly not able to do so.

Do you need an estate plan? Do you need to update your current estate plan? Contact us today for more information.

Wills and Estate Mistakes of the Rich and Famous

Celebrity deaths immediately capture the public’s attention but quickly fade from the spotlight as popular culture marches on. The aftermath of a celebrity death can be far more interesting, primarily because of the estate planning mistakes that many celebrities make in their wills.

Heath Ledger is a prime example. The Oscar-winning actor whose portrayal of the Joker in the Batman trilogy created a Will before he died in 2008. He left his entire $20 million estate to his parents and sisters, but gave nothing to his daughter, who had been born after Ledger wrote the will. The actor’s relatives remedied this omission by putting significant assets into a trust for her. The lesson here is that Wills need to be updated periodically to reflect changes in circumstances.

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, also created an estate plan before his untimely death. That plan included a trust, but many of Jackson’s assets were left outside of that trust. Because he failed to follow through on his plan, Jackson’s estate has been in and out of probate court several times.

Unlike Jackson and Ledger, the musician, Prince, had no Will or estate plan at the time of his death in 2016. Without a Will, his assets are set to be distributed to heirs per the intestacy rules in the State of Minnesota, but a substantial portion of those assets will be depleted by legal fees and government estate taxes.

This list of celebrity Will mistakes goes on and on as fame and glory blind the rich and famous to planning for their own mortality. Fortunately, we can take some instruction from their mistakes not only to make our own Wills and estate plans, but to keep those plans fully up-to-date. Ford + Bergner LLP helps residents of Texas and other states to develop estate plans that maximize the value of their assets for their heirs while minimizing estate taxes and probate costs and expenses. Please contact us for assistance with your own will and estate plan.