Most people assume that the rich and famous have bullet-proof estate plans to protect their expansive estates. The reality, however, is that celebrities make the same estate planning mistakes as everyone else.
Below are some of the mistakes celebrities have made and that you should avoid, including failing to:
- Appoint proper guardians. When choosing a guardian for your children, it is important to take a wide variety of factors into consideration. For example, Michael Jackson appointed his elderly mother to serve as the guardian of his children. Diana Ross was named as a successor guardian. However, due to his mother’s age, it left questions about what would happen if Mrs. Jackson died before his youngest child becomes an adult or if she became unable to care for the children. When choosing a guardian, you should consider whether the individual will be able to care for your minor children until they reach at least 18 years of age.
- Update your estate plan. As your life progresses, your circumstances can change. Certain events require you to update your estate plan, such as births, deaths, divorce, marriage and other changes that your family changes. Failure to update your estate plan after one of these events can lead to unintended consequences. You should look at these concerns at least annually to consider changes.
- Organize finances. The rich and famous typically have complicated finances that include a variety of accounts, insurance policies, and numerous valuable assets which often include business investments. Your financial situation may also be complex, even if it is to a lesser extent than that of a celebrity. Whether your estate is big or small, it is important that you organize your financial records. The more difficult it is for your loved ones to locate your assets, the hard the administration of your estate will be for them.
- Avoid taxes. It is important to consult with an estate planning attorney regarding how to prepare your estate to avoid unnecessary taxation. Again, Michael Jackson provides an example of an estate that was subjected to costly taxes, among other problems. If he had created a trust, created a limited liability company to hold assets and/or purchased a large life insurance policy, he could have minimized the taxes against his estate and solve many other problems.
One of the most important steps you can take in avoiding common estate planning mistakes is to work with a knowledgeable professional you can trust. The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.