Many who have yet to create an estate plan tell themselves “When I become rich and famous I’ll do it because then I will really need one”. Surprisingly, many of the rich and famous still don’t get around to it, creating a legal nightmare when they die. Consider the following short list of rich and famous persons who failed to leave behind an effective estate plan.
Abraham Lincoln: Despite being a lawyer himself, even the 16th President of the United States died intestate.
Jimi Hendrix: One of the greatest guitar players of all time died at the age of 27. It then took another 34 years to settle his estate after he died without a Will or Trust!
Howard Hughes: Worth in the neighborhood of $2.5 billion when he died in 1976, the eccentric billionaire failed to create an estate plan. Although a Will was produced after his death, it was later determined to be a forgery. Eventually, 22 cousins inherited Hughes’s fortune.
Pablo Picasso — One of the most well known artists to ever live, the artist died at the age of 91 leaving behind an estate valued in the millions, but did not leave behind a Will or Trust. Six years later, at an estimated cost of $30 million, his estate was settled.
Bob Marley: Although he was aware he was dying of cancer, the man who introduced the world to reggae music did not see fit to create an estate plan prior to his death. After his death, alleged children, mothers of those children and various relatives filed claims to his estate estimated to be worth $30 million at the time.
In the end, the oversights of these celebrities costs their loved ones many millions of dollars in avoidable legal expenses and many years of delays in settling their estates. Even for persons with more modest estates, lack of effective planning will likely have similar negative results.
The common moral of these stories is that procrastination concerning this important part of one’s planning for the future will almost always never yield a happy ending. The best way to prevent such misfortune from visiting our own families