Singer Amy Winehouse died unexpectedly last July. As her many fans mourned her untimely death, speculation began about her would receive her fortune. Although only 27, Winehouse made a big splash on the music scene at an early age and is believed to have left behind a significant fortune. Early reports were that the young singer not only left behind a Last Will and Testament, but that she had also had the presence of mind to have updated her Will after her divorce from ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil. Apparently, those reports were inaccurate.
According to recently filed probate documents, Winehouse did not leave behind a Last Will and Testament. Since Winehouse died intestate, her estate assets will be distributed according to the statutory laws of intestacy. Although Winehouse was reportedly still close to Feilder-Civil, as well as had a close relationship to her older brother, Alex, neither will receive anything from her estate. Whether or not Winehouse intending them to receive anything — or anyone else for that matter– we will never know as she missed the chance to express those desires by not executing a Will prior to her death.
The untimely death of Winehouse reminds all of us that estate planning is not only for the elderly. Death and disability are risks we all face on a daily basis. The everyday act of driving a vehicle results in many people’s death each and every day.
Your estate plan is the only opportunity that you have to provide for loved ones or express your wishes with regard to your assets and personal belongings in the event of your death. Take the time now to create your estate plan before it is too late.
You are never too young or too poor to forego some form of estate planning. As life progresses and one’s personal and financial situation evolve, estate plans can be updated and modified to reflect those changes.
Not having a formal estate plan does not mean that you do not have an estate plan, it just means you have the plan that state and federal legislators have enacted into law which, more likely than not, would not be the plan you would choose if you created it yourself.