At the time that he passed away, the award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman had a limited estate plan. He only had a will that mentioned establishing a trust for his eldest son. Desiring his children to never become spoiled by large trust funds, however, Seymour Hoffman left the remainder of his estate to his girlfriend.
Hoffman is far from the only celebrity who has made estate planning mistakes in recent history. Over the last few years, countless stories have emerged of actors, athletes, musicians, and other celebrities passing away without estate plans. Because estate planning laws must be followed by everyone — even famous people — intestate estates are ultimately distributed in a way that the deceased individual did not intend.
While you may not be a celebrity, there are some notable lessons to be learned from them about why you must make sure to adequately document your assets and establish an estate plan.
It is a good idea to obtain the assistance of family members to help you navigate a crisis. Estate planning addresses what will happen if you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated as well as what will happen after you pass away. If you are facing a medical crisis, your loved ones must know important details about your financial situation as well as your healthcare wishes. Adequately drafted financial power of attorney and advanced health care directives will help your loved ones act in your best interest.
No Need for Second Guessing
You understandably want your loved ones to avoid spending precious time piecing together the puzzle of your financial situation. You should make things easy for them by listing your financial accounts in a place where the list can be readily accessed. Make sure to tell your family where the list is as well as other important documents. Avoiding these complications can save your loved ones time and money.
Make Sure That Your Assets are Passed on in the Desired Manner
By preparing an adequate estate plan, which includes a will and other documents, you can make sure that your assets are distributed in the manner that you intend. You should also make sure to review and update your beneficiary designations on any pension accounts, IRAs, or insurance policies to make sure that these assets are passed on in an intended manner.
Minimize or Avoid Taxes
People do not like to pay taxes. While many of us need not worry about estate taxes when we pass away, a list of assets and estate planning can address any risks as well as issues like capital gains tax, inheritance tax, and even charitable tax planning.The best estate plans are similar to disaster insurance in that if you do not have them when you need them, it is too late to consider them as an option.
Contact a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney
If you or a loved one has estate planning questions, one of the best things that you can do is to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer. Contact attorney Jim A. Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.