Monday, August 28, 2017

You Don't Have To Be Famous To Screw Up Your Estate

Did you know that Prince didn't have a will at the time of his death?  Now a judge is having to distribute the musician's $300 million estate to his 6 siblings. 

James Gandolfini was worth $70 million when he died in 2013, but because he didn't finish his planning, his estate paid approximately 55% taxes.  That's hefty!

Florence Griffith Joyner (FloJo) had a will, but failed to let anyone know where it was.  It took a probate court 4 years to close out her estate.

These are just a few examples of how famous people with lots of money and resources still managed to screw up their estates.  For the rest of us, there are plenty of resources and information.  Here are a few.

1.  Your accountant knows more about your financial situation than anyone.  Let this professional help you.  The less the government gets in taxes, the more in the pockets of your heirs.

2.  Your attorney should be able to let you know if you need a trust (for tax avoidance purposes) or not.  Keep in mind that estate planning attorneys are usually not the same person you use to get you out of a speeding ticket. 

3.  Your life insurance agent can plan for where insurance proceeds go after your death.  Remember that most death benefits are tax-free.  As an attorney friend of mine says, "A contract trumps a will, and a life insurance policy is a contract." 

If you have questions about planning, let us know at Surf Financial Brokers.