3 Lessons You Can Learn From Celebrities About Updating Your Estate Plan
Lesson #1: Don’t Forget About It
It is recommended that you review your estate plan at least every three to five years; however, a lot of people will set up an estate plan, then forget about it. When famous actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman, died, his estate plans had not been updated for 10 years. Within that 10-year period, he had two daughters, who ultimately did not have a place in his estate plan.
Lesson #2: Update Your Plan After a Major Life Event
A good rule to live by in keeping your estate the way you want it: review and amend it when a major life event occurs. A major life event could include a financial or personal event. Examples include having children, getting married or filing for divorce. When actor Heath Ledger died in 2008, he had not looked at his will since 2003; however, his daughter was born in 2005. This caused family outrage, because Ledger left his entire estate to his parents and sisters. His estate did not include his wife or child.
While Colorado law specifically provides for a marriage taking place or children born after a pre-existing Will, the amount provided by the statute may not bear any relationship to the likely intent of the decedent; and the efforts to enforce the statutory provisions will result in unnecessary legal expenses.
Lesson #3: All of Your Belongings and Assets are Important
Robin Williams was a beloved comedian and actor. When he passed away, he was praised for having a solid estate plan in place for his family. However, grief comes in many forms. Williams’ family argued about the vague term, “memorabilia,” Williams used in his trust. His family fought for nearly a year about whether Williams’ personal belongings, such as his books, watches, awards, and family photographs fell within the meaning of “memorabilia.”
The moral: keep your estate plan as updated as you can. It will keep your family protected when you are gone. Review your estate plan every three to five years or when your personal or financial situation changes. In addition, laws change, so keeping your estate plan updated with current laws will protect your estate from owing taxes to the IRS and will avoid unnecessary court proceedings.
Need an Estate Planning Attorney?
If you have questions about estate planning, contact our estate planning attorneys at Wiegand Attorneys & Counselors, LLC. We have been taking care of our clients for over 40 years. You can get started by downloading our estate planning questionnaire. Call us at (303) 747-6791 or inquire with us online.