They say celebrities are “just like the rest of us,” and that’s certainly true when it comes to estate planning.
While no one likes to think about (or plan for) their incapacity or death, there are real-life consequences for not doing so. It doesn’t matter if you are a billionaire or just an average Joe, everyone needs a plan to protect their assets and their family if something happens to them.
Anne Heche’s current estate battle highlights the importance of planning for parents. Her ex James Tupper, has come forward with an email she sent in 2011 that says, “FYI in case I die tomorrow and anyone asks. My wishes are that all of my assets go to the control of Mr. James Tupper to be used to raise my children
and then given to the children…”
Of course, an email is not a legally valid will. Her loved ones will now have to go to court to fight about it. Plus, she was no longer with Mr. Tupper when she passed. Was this still even her wish? And, her oldest son is now an adult who wants to control the estate himself. Should he have that right? A judge will
Talk show host Wendy Williams has had her $20 Million dollar fortune frozen by Wells Fargo because they do not feel she is of “sound mind” to access the funds. She’s recently divorced, and apparently did not update her estate plan to name someone else as Trustee or Power of Attorney who could make decisions for her
and manage her funds in her place.
The bank’s message to her and her team? Go to court for a Guardianship like everyone else in America. And that’s exactly what your family would have to do if you become incapacitated without documents in place that would allow someone else to access your assets or make decisions on your behalf. It doesn’t matter if you had $20 million in the bank or $20. The rules are the same.
Finally, Aretha Franklin’s estate settled this summer after the family discovered not 1… not 2… not 3… but FOUR handwritten wills hidden around her house. One was even hidden under the couch cushions. The kicker was that the family initially thought she had no will. This lack of communication about end-of-life affairs and wishes is common … and usually results in bitter court battles when a loved one dies… just like Aretha’s family experienced.
My hope is that you learn from these high profile mistakes and create a plan to protect the things you own and the people you care about. It will make all the difference if something happens.
Contact us if we can help you get started so we can tailor a plan that fits you and your family.