When you die, you want to ensure that your money goes quickly to your loved ones. The last thing you want are complications, or even worse, your estate passing into the wrong hands. Despite this universal hope, many people make mistakes with estate planning, and celebrities are no exception. Learn which problems to avoid by reading about a few celebrities and the mistakes they made.
Forgetting to Update Your Will
People often forget to update their will when there are significant life events. For example, if you are separated and in the process of divorcing, don’t forget to remove your spouse from the will.
Barry White made this mistake when he died in 2003. He was separated from his second wife and living with his girlfriend and her nine children. However, he forgot to remove his wife as a beneficiary, and when he died, she inherited everything while his girlfriend and her children received nothing.
Similarly, don’t forget to add new beneficiaries. When Heath Ledger died in 2008, he was only 28 and likely wasn’t expecting to die so soon. He did leave behind a will, but unfortunately, the paperwork specified that everything would go to his parents and siblings.
The problem was that Ledger had a 2-year-old daughter in 2006 and forgot to update his will to reflect that. So his daughter Matilda, as well as her actress mother Michelle Williams, were left with nothing. In this particular case, Ledger’s family did the right thing and gave all the money to Matilda, but you shouldn’t count on this happening in your case.
Having No Will At All
An even bigger mistake is to leave no estate behind at all! When Prince died in 2016, there was no will and no instructions concerning his estate, which was valued at $200 million.
This video of an interview with John Branca Attorney explains how this was a terrible thing for both Prince’s heirs and his estate. Because Prince did not have a will, a bank was appointed to oversee and run his estate, despite the fact that the people put in charge knew nothing about music or the entertainment world. According to John Branca Attorney, “… you have a bunch of statutory heirs that are the beneficiaries that are all sort of disagreeing with each other over what should happen, not the optimum results.”
Be prepared before you die. It’s better to be proactive and ensure you are prepared than to leave behind a mess for your loved ones to sort through. The solution to ensure your money goes where you intended it to go: make a will and keep it up-to-date.