I wrote the book on Minnesota probate.

Estate planning mistakes even celebrities make

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Establishing, maintaining and updating, when necessary, a Minnesota estate plan represents one of the most loving things you can do for your family. It also represents the one sure way by which you can make your preferences known.

Unfortunately, many people, including celebrities, fail to properly make an estate plan. The following examples of celebrity estate no-nos serve as a good lesson on what not to do when thinking about your own estate plan.

Failing to have an estate plan

One high-profile estate snafu occurred right here in Minnesota. When the legendary singer Prince died in 2016, his family discovered that he had no estate plan. In fact, he had not even made a will. Consequently, his $200+ million estate ended up in probate court where, three years later, the issues have yet to be completely resolved. Perhaps not surprisingly, numerous would-be heirs came out of the woodwork to make claims. To date, only estate administrators and attorneys have received any money. You can avoid such problems by establishing an estate plan.

Failing to switch beneficiaries

In the case of singer Barry White’s 2003 death, he died while divorcing his second wife. Because the divorce had not yet finalized, that wife inherited his entire estate, leaving his long-time live-in girlfriend and his nine children with nothing. You can avoid such problems by updating your estate plan whenever necessary, particularly when you divorce. At the very least, you should change the beneficiaries of your life insurance policies, retirement accounts, etc., plus change the designated attorney-in-fact of your health care and/or financial power of attorney.

Failing to divulge where you put your estate planning documents

When Olympic gold medal track star Florence Griffith-Joyner died in 1998, her family could not discover the whereabouts of the will and other estate planning documents they knew she had created. Years of court battles ensued. You can avoid such problems by putting your original estate planning documents in a safe deposit box or another secure place and telling at least two members of your family the location of that place and how they can access it.