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When Celebrities Die Without a Will, Americans Get Serious About Estate Planning

Posted on in Estate Planning

DuPage County estate planning attorneysEstimates indicate that just 64 percent of all Americans have a will. That number drops significantly, falling to 22 percent, in the 55 and younger population. Yet, when the fortunes of big celebrities are thrown into limbo because they failed to make an estate plan, Americans start to get serious about their own fortunes. Of course, not everyone has an actual fortune, but that does not mean you do not need an estate plan. The following covers some important lessons learned from celebrities who died without a will, and will hopefully help you understand the importance of having one in place for your estate.

Probate Costs and Taxes Can Significantly Reduce the Value of Your Estate

Whether you are a multibillionaire, a pop music idol, or just your average American, your estate may be subject to probate if you pass away without a will in place. This can get expensive, and fast. As an example, Prince's estate, which is currently valued at about $300 million has already racked up more than two million in attorney's fees. On top of that, there will be state and federal taxes to pay, which are often higher when you fail to create an estate plan. If you have even a meager estate, reduce the risk of its depletion in probate with an estate plan.

Your Children Could Be Left Living in Limbo

If you have minor children and do not have an estate plan, your children could be left living in a sort of custodial limbo until a determination can be made by the courts. In the meantime, they could be placed in foster care or with a family member. In respect to the permanent guardian of your children, any family member can come forward and petition for custody of your children and their estate. Of course, the court will make every effort to ensure your children are safe and cared for, but the final determination may not be one you would have chosen.

The minor children of Michael Jackson, who was originally thought to have died without a will, might have faced a similar situation. Thankfully, his will did surface. It named both a permanent guardian and a successor guardian, should there ever be a need for one.

Adult Children, Spouses, and Other Heirs Are Left to Battle It Out

Probably the most heartbreaking consequence of an estate with no will is the effect it has on the family you love. Left to battle it out, and sometimes forced to take their issues to court, spouses, children, and other heirs may spend weeks, months, years, at war over who gets what. In some cases, the battle gets so heated that the bonds are forever strained or destroyed. Even if you only have sentimental property to divide, consider a will to protect your family from this fate.

Contact Our DuPage County Estate Planning Attorneys

Whatever your estate planning needs - be it to ensure your estate is divided the way you see fit, to reduce the risk of fighting, to protect your assets from depletion, or to simply ensure your children go to the person you feel is right - the law firm of Stock, Carlson & Asso. LLC can help. Get the experienced assistance you deserve. Call 630-665-2500 and schedule your initial consultation with our DuPage County estate planning lawyers today.

Sources:

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/04/27/music-superstars-who-died-without-leaving-a-will.html

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2015/07/11/estate-plan-will/71270548/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2016/04/26/6-legendary-stars-who-died-without-wills/83550424/

http://www.startribune.com/legal-tab-for-prince-estate-2m-and-counting/388857201/

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