Estate planning is important for ensuring your wishes are carried out the way you intend after your death. However, many people overlook this critical task. In some cases, they leave it until it is too late. Even celebrities can fall into this trap.
Famous People Who Died Without Wills
Several prominent figures in the entertainment world passed away recently without wills in place. One of the most recent was singing legend Aretha Franklin. Several of her relatives have stepped forward to claim interests in her estate. This case is ongoing, so it is unclear at this point how events will unfold. Without a will, though, it is likely that the court will divide her assets evenly among her heirs.
A few years ago, Prince, the revered musician, also died without a will. A lengthy court battle ensued over his $200 million estate. Ultimately, the court decided that his sister and five half-siblings would split his assets. However, there were other relatives who sought to claim a piece, though they were unsuccessful. It is unclear whether Prince would have wished to leave inheritances for any of these people. There may have been others who he wished to have some of his assets, but we’ll never know.
The Problem with Not Having a Will
If your assets will simply be divided evenly among your heirs, why create a will at all? When it comes to probate court, nothing is as simple as it seems. The easiest way to ensure each person receives what you want them to is to write a will. This aspect of estate planning is important for a number of reasons.
Less Stress on Your Family
When your friends and family are grieving your death, you don’t want them to have to fight over your assets. Estate planning is important because it allows you to spell out your wishes clearly. This way, the courts will know exactly what to do with your assets. Your family can focus on grieving their loss, knowing that they are following your wishes. In this difficult time, you’ll want to make things as easy on them as possible. That starts with proper estate planning.
Minimal Risk of Complications
In Prince’s case, there were more potential heirs that came forward than to which the court awarded inheritances. Only Prince would have known the truth of his relationships with these other individuals. The court merely looks at the closeness of the blood relationship. It doesn’t necessarily evaluate the personal relationship. If you have a close relationship with someone, even if not by blood, estate planning is important. You want to ensure this person receives the inheritance you wish for them.
Protect Your Children
If you have young children, estate planning is important to secure their futures. While a will is part of an estate plan, there are more decisions to make than just dividing assets. A trust can be used to explain your wishes with regards to your minor children. In your will, you can stipulate who will accept custody of your kids after your death. In a trust, you can also lay out guidelines for their ongoing education or any other wishes you have for your children, including when they’ll inherit assets or a business.
Estate Planning is Important, So Get Started Now!
No matter what age you are currently, estate planning is important. You never know when you might pass away, and you don’t want your loved ones left scrambling to figure out your wishes.
Here at Ogborne Law, we are proud to include estate planning among our services. Your attorney will work closely with you to draw up all the documents you’ll need to communicate your wishes to the court. We’ll take the time to answer all of your questions and guide you through this important process.
Reach out to us today for an appointment to discuss your estate.
Engaging with an attorney to protect your family is never an easy step. Whether you need to protect your family from the unthinkable or restructure your family through collaborative divorce, we’re here to help. When you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Michelle Ogborne, please visit the scheduling page to get started.