Kathryn T. Joseph & Associates, Inc.
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Celebrities' estate planning mistakes show what to avoid

Ohio residents may want to learn from the mistakes that celebrities have made about estate planning. Avoiding these mistakes may help to make certain that people's wishes are followed and that they may avoid substantial taxes, probate costs, attorneys' fees and potential litigation.

Prince famously died without a will. Since his estate is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, this means that millions will go to the government in taxes, the payment of attorneys' costs and probate expenses. Since he had no will, all of his assets will go to his five siblings even if he might have wanted to distribute them differently.

By contrast, Whitney Houston did draft a will in 1993, but she never updated it. According to her will, 10 percent of her $20 million estate was to pass to her daughter when she reached age 18 with the rest payable later. This meant that Bobbi Kristina received around $2 million at age 18, but she died at age 21 without directions about the remainder of the estate. The lesson here is that people should create trusts when they have minor children who stand to inherit. Heath Ledger also drew up a will when he was young, but his will did not take into account the fact that he might have children. When he died, this meant all of his assets went to his parents and siblings, and none of them went to his daughter who was born after he drafted his will.

Good estate planning might help people to avoid litigation, substantial probate expenses, taxes and accidental disinheritances. People might want to consult with estate planning attorneys about how they might best be able to use estate planning to meet their goals. If they establish trusts, they may also want to make certain to fund them so that some assets do not still have to be probated.

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Kathryn T. Joseph & Associates, Inc.
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