Hi, my name is Kyle Krasa and I’m an estate planning attorney in Pacific Grove, California. One of my favorite methods for teaching basic estate planning principles is to take a look at some bad estate planning examples of the rich and famous. Celebrities are notorious for having terrible estate planning mistakes.
We’re standing in my office and I have this poster here entitled “Historically Bad Estate Planning.” It’s published by Insurance News Net Magazine, and it gives a rundown of some famous celebrities and the estate planning mistakes that they made.
So for example, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, uh, put together an estate plan where she planned on having a lot of money to fund a lot of charitable organizations. But by the time she passed away, her estate was actually a lot smaller than she anticipated and she wasn’t able to carry out much of her charitable mission.
Phillip and Helen Wrigley, the owners of the Chicago Cubs, left behind a tax mess that forced their heirs to sell their assets in order to pay the taxes and the assets that they had to sell included the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field.
The famous singer Amy Winehouse was divorced at the time of her death, but most of her friends believe that she still felt very close to her ex-husband and probably would have wanted him to inherit. However, Amy did not leave an estate plan, and as a result, her ex-spouse was not entitled to receive any portion of her estate.
Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King have a lot in common. Unfortunately, one thing that they have in common is neither of them put together an estate plan before they passed away. And in both cases, they left messes for their heirs.
So one thing that I tell my clients is that the one thing that all of these celebrities have in common is that none of them came to me to do their estate planning. So don’t make the same mistakes as so many famous people have in the past. Make sure you work with a competent attorney who is licensed to practice law in your area who can put together a comprehensive estate plan that will avoid all of these mistakes and make sure that your family is taken care of.