Estate Planning Lessons We Can Learn from Aretha Franklin

Many of us have heard about the unfortunate passing of Aretha Franklin. The singing legend passed away on August 16 of this year at 76 years old. What you may not have heard, however, is that “the Queen of Soul” passed away without a last will and testament or a trust agreement. Other legendary stars, such as Michael Jackson and Prince, also died without any estate planning in place. This is called dying “intestate” and can cause many problems for your heirs and estate.

This raises the question, why did these celebrities leave their multimillion dollar estates behind with no instructions about how to distribute their assets? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer. We can, however, share with you some lessons to be learned from the failure of these celebrities to adequately plan ahead and leave their loved ones protected.

  1. Do not wait to prepare your planning documents.

There is no time like the present to begin preparing your estate planning documents. Whether you are eighteen or eighty, it is never too early to start thinking about the legacy you wish to leave behind. Unfortunately, unexpected accidents or illnesses can affect us at any age. Having a comprehensive estate plan in place early will help to ensure your loved ones are well-taken care of in the event of your passing.

  1. Leave clear instructions for your heirs to follow.

The absence of estate planning documents leaves behind confusion and stress for your heirs. Without clear guidance, your loved ones may struggle with how to distribute your assets in a way that honors your wishes. Unfortunately, in these situations, family members may become overwhelmed by the many decisions, which may lead to rifts and arguments between your loved ones. By creating a comprehensive estate plan with clearly written instructions, you can help alleviate some of this stress and ensure your loved ones receive the assets you want them to have.

  1. Consider whether you need a special needs trust.

Aretha Franklin’s lack of estate planning left her special needs child unprotected after her passing. If you have a special needs child, it is important that you avoid placing them in this unfortunate situation. This can be accomplished by the creation of a special needs trust. This type of trust helps to ensure the preservation of any government benefits your child is entitled to and the protection of the inheritance you leave for your child.

We know it can be daunting to plan for a time when you are no longer here. It is crucial, however, that you plan ahead while you still have the opportunity to do so and leave your loved ones protected. When you are ready to start your planning, do not wait to contact us to set up an appointment. We are here to support you and inform you about the best ways to leave behind a legacy you are proud of.

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