My colleague and fellow estate planning attorney and blogger, Jennifer N. Sawday, of the California Estate Planning Blog and the law firm of Tredway, Lumsdaine & Doyle, LLP has written a post on the recent deaths of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon. She has gotten some nice feedback on it in the blogging circles (way to go, Jenni!) and I have reposted it below:
very notable celebrities have died. Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and now
Michael Jackson. Each had families. Each had loved ones. Each had
assets. And each had potential contestants to their estate. Did each
have an estate plan in place that was updated and reflected their
Time will soon find out. The media will report if their
estate administration turns out to be a mess like Anna Nicole Smith's
Ed was survived by his wife so his estate is likely to be
less burdensome whether he had an estate plan in place or not. A
surviving spouse generally has an easier time on formal estate
administration than children or other loved ones.
If you are
not married like Farrah or Michael were — having an estate plan in
place is very important especially if you want to provide for your
partner or other loved one despite not being married. Both Farrah and
Michael had children that should be provided for. And Michael is
survived by three young children. The mother of two of the children
relinquished her parental rights so their guardianship and care may
very well wind up being a contested matter.
You need to outline
your wishes for disposition of your assets, nominate a successor
trustee or executor to handle your affairs and otherwise make your
wishes known. Where there are minor children in place, it is very
important to nominate guardians and have a trust in place in the event
of your passing.
It simply does not matter who you are. An
estate plan carefully drafted and funded in conjunction with your
professional advisors, such as your attorney, accountant and financial
advisors, is important. Important for everyone including celebrities.
May Ed, Farrah and Michael RIP.