One of the most repeated pieces of estate planning advice is to create a will. While the late musician Tom Petty made sure to create a will prior to his death in 2017, there is still an ongoing legal battle concerning the administration of Petty’s estate.

Even though Petty established a trust and named his wife as trustee, Petty’s daughters from an earlier marriage claim that Petty’s widow is not providing them with enough control over Petty’s assets. Petty’s daughters have initiated a lawsuit against Tom Petty Unlimited, which is an LLC tasked with managing the musician’s legacy.

This dispute is just one of several recent highly-publicized estate battles involving celebrities with similar situations, such as Aretha Franklin and Prince. Because it can be difficult to create a good estate plan, many people find the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney particularly valuable. The following are some valuable lessons that can be gleaned from recent celebrity deaths.

Plan for Unanticipated Events

There a number of celebrities who pass away with trusts and wills in place, but because they fail to take potential births or deaths into consideration, problems arise after death.

For example, the late rapper XXXTenacion failed to create an estate plan that took children that were not born at the time of his death into consideration.  

Routinely Update Your Estate Plan

Estate plans must be revised every few years, even if there are not any major life changes that occur. Failure to do so might mean that administration of your estate plan would have less than desirable results.

For example, Heath Ledger failed to update his will after his children were born and as a result, his children were left at risk of not receiving anything at all from the late actor’s estate.

Avoid Vagueness

Perhaps the best lesson learned from the late Tom Petty is to avoid vague language when writing a will or estate plan. If Tom Petty had estate planning documents that were more specific, his family would have likely been able to avoid the ongoing litigation they are currently enduring.

Make Sure to Adequately Fund Your Trust

It is not enough to create a trust, you must also make sure that the trust is adequately funded. For example, Michael Jackson created a trust to protect his assets, but did not place any assets into that trust. As a result, Jackson’s entire estate had to undergo the probate process, which took a protracted period of time and resulted in a great deal of money being lost in taxes.

Perform Adequate Estate Planning

There are a number of celebrities whose beneficiaries encountered substantial challenges because they failed to adequately record their wishes. Aretha Franklin for example, would likely have been able to avoid a number of complications if she had performed more adequate estate planning while she was alive.

Speak with a Skilled Estate Planning Lawyer

If you need assistance with your estate plan, one of the best steps that you can take is to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer.

Contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free initial consultation.