As two lawyers who have written about celebrity estates for years and hosted the national television special Trial and Heirs: Protect Your Family Fortune! on PBS affiliates, we’ve noticed that stars often make the same big estate planning mistakes as people with very modest assets. It’s just the dollar amounts that differ.
Learn from their goofs and avoid repeating them yourself. That way, you’ll protect your loved ones and be sure your inheritance wishes are carried out.
These are the top four estate planning mistakes made by celebs — errors you’ll want to avoid:
1. No will. Most of us naturally want to be sure our assets are distributed properly after we pass away, so it’s surprising that almost two-thirds of adults don’t even have simple wills. Whether you have millions of dollars or just a modest estate, estate planning is critical — starting with a will.
Unfortunately for the family of Amy Winehouse, the singer didn’t have a will when she unexpectedly passed away at age 27, leaving Read more...
Shortly after Amy Winehouse passed away from accidental alcohol poisoning at the age of 27 last July, reports surfaced that she not only had a will, but she had the foresight to update her will after her divorce from ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil. These early reports have recently been proven wrong.
Probate records were recently filed showing that Winehouse died intestate, meaning without a valid will. The estate value is listed as £4,257,580 (worth about $6.7 million U.S.) in total assets, but taxes and other debts reduce the value to £2,944,554, or $4.66 million, U.S. Many believed her estate would be worth much more, perhaps as high as $15 to $20 million.
But, let’s not jump to conclusions so quickly. The assets passing through probate court are those left in her individual name when she died. So anything held jointly with someone else, or that had a beneficiary designation (like a life insurance policy), would pass outside of probate, directly to the other person. Also, if Winehouse had a trust — Read more...
Each week, we take the latest celebrity estate news and use them to share lessons. It’s shocking how many rich and famous people make mistake and after mistake, which often leads to heirs fighting over inheritances. But, it’s not only the rich. Everyday across the country, people from all walks of life make the exact same mistakes time and time again. The only difference is the dollar amounts that they’re fighting over.
Sometimes, celebrities do get it right, and we love to share those as well. In fact, recently, Amy Winehouse tragically passed away at the young age of 27. Almost immediately, people worried that her fortune (which has been valued at differing amounts, from 15 to 30 million dollars), would pass to her ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil.
Fielder-Civil is currently in prison for burglary and related crimes and is often blamed for introducing Winehouse to hard drugs, which likely had a hand in her early demise (although the exact cause has not yet been determined).
Last week, the U.K.’s Daily Read more...