Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, April 22, 2019

7 Celebrity Estate Planning Pitfalls

WillCelebrities have made the news numerous times for either not performing any estate planning, or not enough planning. Here are a few things that any person can learn from celebrities mishaps to plan for different situations:

  • Plan for the unknown
    • No one has a crystal ball (that actually works), so there is a chance that after you make your will you could have a child or a child on the way that is not mentioned. The pretermitted statute of your state could allow the child to not be completely disinherited, but this could throw your entire succession plan off.
  • Plan early
    • People can die at any age, either by accident, addiction, sudden disease, or any other unfortunate tragedy. Planning early is the only way to know that your estate is in order before your death.
  • Update your estate plan
    • Every major life event can alter the way you want your assets to be distributed, whether it be the death of a family member, the birth of a child, or your own marriage.
  • Be specific
    • Do not leave anything to the discretion of the beneficiaries to separate, because this could cause discord among them.
  • Consult a tax professional
    • One of the goals of estate planning is to minimize estate taxes to maximize the gifts to your beneficiaries, and the professionals will know the most efficient ways to do it.
  • Fund the trust
    • If you establish a living trust, remember to place assets in it before you pass away. If you fail to do so, the trust will not be valid and your estate will be passed through the probate process.
  • Plan, period
    • Failure to plan and lack of proper estate planning can cost you and your beneficiaries plenty of wasted time, money and energy.

See Lerea Funderburg, 7 Celebrity Estate Planning Pitfalls, Rolling Out, April 21, 2019.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.) for bringing this article to my attention.


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