The media provides us with a window into the lives of celebrities and other high profile individuals. If you ask those who are followed around constantly by the paparazzi, you will probably hear them say that this is not an especially good thing. On the other hand, we do have the opportunity to learn from the successes and failures of others.
This is true when it comes to estate planning. For example, the legendary soul singer James Brown passed away in 2006, and his multimillion dollar estate is still being contested in court. The will he had at the time of his death was apparently executed before his final marriage and did not make any provisions for his widow — she obviously has a problem with that. This underscores why it is important to revise your estate plan when you undergo significant life changes.
On the other end of the spectrum, singer Amy Winehouse did in fact have a solid estate plan in place. She reportedly made a point of getting her affairs in order after she got divorced from Blake Fielder-Civil. Under British rules of succession, it could have been possible for her ex-husband to receive an inheritance upon the singer’s death had she not taken the proper steps to express her wishes in a legally binding manner.
The best way to make sure that your estate plan is always up-to-date is to develop an ongoing relationship with an estate planning attorney. Crafting your legacy is not a “one and done” affair and this is something to be aware of when you are making plans for the future.