You may not be worth millions of dollars, but proper estate planning is priceless to your loved ones.
News of the mortality of Prince shocked his fans.
As an estate planning attorney, news of Prince having no will did not surprise me.
He is but another in a long line of princes and paupers (sorry, I just could not resist) who have failed to face their own mortality and make proper plans for the inevitable.
It turns out that this musical genius was either ignorant, arrogant or in denial when it came to his finances.
Despite knowing his health was failing, Prince did not draft a will.
According to an article in The Huffington Post titled "Like Prince, A Majority Of Americans Don't Have A Will," wills are important for anyone.
I could not agree more.
This legal document:
- Establishes beneficiaries;
- Decides who gets what (and how much of the pie); and
- Precludes the state from choosing what happens to your property.
In short, your will advocates for you when you cannot. It is a set of legally recognized instructions for leaving your estate to the ones you love.
According to a 2007 lawyers.com survey, 55% of American adults do not have a will prepared.
Similarly, a 2011 EZLaw estate planning survey confirmed this lack of personal responsibility and those polled gave the same excuses for having no estate plan.
- They were too busy.
- Estate planning was too complicated and cost too much.
Not having a will is much more complicated for all parties involved and will cost you more—both in money and peace of mind.
A do-it-yourself, “back of a napkin” will does not protect you or your family from the unfortunate consequences attending poor estate planning.
You get what you pay for.
As for Prince, all he left was a multi-million headache and an avoidable windfall to the IRS.
An experienced estate planning attorney is a must.
So, how do you find an "experienced" estate planning attorney?
First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources.
Second, conduct an "organic" search on "Google" for "estate planning" near you (e.g., "Estate Planning Anytown MoKan").
Third, either way, verify! Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her.
In fact, I use both of these services to thoroughly vett attorneys before referring members of our "client" family for legal help in other areas of law or for matters in jurisdictions outside Kansas or Missouri.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Huffington Post (May 3, 2016) "Like Prince, A Majority of Americans Don't Have A Will"