As many mourn the death of entertainer Whitney Houston, sales of items related to the artist are soaring. According to news reports, Houston, age 48, was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel room where she was staying in anticipation of attending the Grammy Awards the following day. Best known for the moving love song I Will Always Love You, Houston was once the darling of the music industry. With a string of chart topping hits in the 90s and a successful attempt at crossing over into acting with her roles in The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale, Houston once seemed to have the touch of gold. Sadly, she spent the last decade reportedly battling substance abuse problems and engaged in a tumultuous relationship with singer Bobby Brown. The value of Houston’s estate, for probate purposes, will be determined by the value at the time of her death; however, the value of estate assets for beneficiary purposes may continue to soar for months, or even years to come.
Granted, the average American may not have estate assets that include residuals for a movie role or for a record deal, but you may have assets that could continue to increase in value long after your death, making estate planning even more important. Investment accounts, when managed successfully, will increase in value over time. If you own a small business, or have a financial interest in a larger business, the future success of the business may translate into future income for your beneficiaries. While real property tends to appreciate at an unpredictable rate, it will appreciate in most cases. Intellectual property can sometimes provide a huge income stream years down the road. If your estate contains any of these assets, be sure to consider the future income possibilities when deciding how to handle the assets in your estate plan.