While most of us don’t have multi-million dollar fortunes there are some good lessons to be learned from celebrity estate outcomes. Somehow it is much more interesting to learn from Robin Williams, Casey Kasem, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Lauren Bacall, Joan Rivers, and Mickey Rooney than read just another article on estate and end of life planning. The current estate tax exemption now $5,340,000 makes planning easier for most of us, but there are still important questions to keep in mind. And by the way, an “estate” doesn’t have to be $1M to be messy. Far too often family relationships become stressed in the settlement process, and sadly some never recover. Not the intended outcome!
- Who will make end of life decision? Do they know what you want?
- If you have had multiple marriages or haven’t married a partner, is it all up-to-date? Things can get very messy.
- Have your marital status changes since your estate plan was put together?
- How much “sudden” money will recipients under 30 yrs. be receiving? Are they prepared to handle it responsibly? Can you add some type of stipulation to delay or split the timing of receipt?
- Have you talked to your family about your wishes? A little conversation goes a very long way.
- And some mentions of care for your pet(s) is a good idea as well.