We all need to be organized about how our assets, medical care and family responsibilities will be managed when we die or become incapacitated. Simply put, this means having an estate plan. Experts point out that we can avoid the problems sometimes set in motion when celebrities die by taking a few basic action steps.
Making The Most of Assets and Choices
Legal experts observe that the estate planning failures of celebrities provide cautionary tales for all of us wishing to prevent family strife—and have confidence that our assets will ultimately help our loved ones. When you think about it, in many ways, the less assets we have, the more important it is to plan-fully pass them forward. As Cassady Law Offices sums up: Estate planning is no longer an option only for the wealthy; people in all walks of life are looking to make the most of their assets and their choices.
Estate planning experts offer these examples of celebrity circumstances to avoid:
When Sonny Bono passed away after a skiing accident, he had no will. At the time, his second wife, Cher, filed a claim against the estate for $1.6 million in unpaid spousal support. Another person, allegedly an illegitimate child, also made a claim. Lawsuits built against the estate, dragging out the case for years.
When Paul Walker passed in a car crash, he was just 40 years old. Surprisingly, the actor did have a trust, will and around $25 million in assets. Unfortunately, that plan had not been updated in around 12 years, so executing the estate took much longer due to valuation concerns.
When Casey Kasem passed away, it took almost six months for his burial to happen. This is because his family actually fought over what should happen to his body. Contests over the man’s life insurance, body and other aspects of the estate might have been avoided with other planning techniques.
Action Steps and Estate Bonds Too
These celebrity examples certainly make a compelling case for us all to create a will (and or set up a trust)—and periodically update the associated documents. Clearly, it is also important to take the time, when we have it, to keep our families up to date about our intentions.
Among the benefits of thoughtful estate planning is naming and preparing someone to manage our affairs when we die. Most frequently this person is referred to as an executor of the estate. Although often waived by families during the process of creating the will, estate bonds can help inspire the confidence of everyone involved. Sometimes they are even required during the probate process.
An estate bond is a type of fiduciary bond: it guarantees the beneficiaries that the estate will be administered in accordance with state law. Estate bonds are alternatively referred to as executor, personal representative or probate bonds. It is quick and easy to obtain any of these bonds from leading, national provider: Colonial Surety Company. Just get a quote online, fill out the information, and enter a payment method. Print or e-file the bond right from anywhere. Getting an estate bond is so simple you can do it now: Obtain Estate Bond Here.
Putting Our Affairs In Order
Though we all know estate planning, aka “putting our affairs in order,” is something we should do, many of us still don’t, inadvertently setting off a lot of confusion and even conflict. Remember, advance preparation is truly a gift. Law Professor draws these lessons for all of us:
- Make an estate plan
- Update your estate plan
- Minimize family disputes and honor your promises
- Avoid unnecessary administrative expenses
- Honor charitable giving
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