Avoid the estate planning mistakes of Aretha Franklin and Prince, advises Richard Eisenberg, writing in Forbes.com. Both these one-time blockbuster music stars died without a will or trust, Eisenberg notes, and, he warns, “Following in their footsteps could mean your loved ones won’t receive the inheritances you intended.” Problems you might cause your heirs include:
- Disbursements could be long-delayed
- Ugly family squabbles might ensue
- Your estate might owe additional taxes
- Your financial life will become a public record
- If you have a special needs child, he or she may wind up losing government benefits
What’s so all-important about having a will?
Having a will means that you, rather than your state’s laws, decide who gets your property when you die, Lawyers.com explains. Wills can:
- distribute your property
- name an executor
- name guardians for children
- forgive debts
At Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, our attorneys are focused on understanding your particular goals and concerns, taking a lifetime planning approach. That means planning for each client’s’ current needs as well as for a potential disability and death.
Control is really the name of the game and the real reason for having a will. Few people have an estate worth $80 million (the estimated value of Franklin’s estate), but deciding how one’s assets are distributed is still most people’s preference. Keep in mind that settling an estate involves a lot of emotions. The slightest differences can result in hurt feelings and recriminations. A will that clearly lays out your wishes may reduce conflict and speculation over what you “would have” wanted.
- By Rebecca W. Geyer