By taking the necessary steps in advance, you have a greater say in how your estate will be distributed. And isn’t that how it should be? Below are five celebrities that didn’t plan to fail, but failed to plan:
Status: Jimi Hendrix died without a will and did not provide any guidance as to what should be done with his multimillion dollar estate. His father, Al Hendrix, became the sole heir to all of his estate; leaving out two children that Jimi had fathered out of wedlock, his brother, a girlfriend of three years, and a second woman who claimed to be his fiancée. Over 40 years later, many portions of his estate are still unsettled and have numerous lawsuits.
Mistake: Never writing a will.
Status: Marlon Brando had discussed with his housekeeper, Angela Borlaza, that he would leave the house that she lived in for her (house was under his name) and promised her continued employment with a company he had owned. Upon his death, this led to two separate lawsuits.
Mistake: Making oral promises.
Status: Heath Ledger had created a detailed will prior to his relationship with Michelle Williams and the birth of their daughter, Matilda Rose. The will was three years old leading up to his death and had left his entire estate to his parents and sister.
Mistake: Not updating the will.
Status: Princess Diana had left a will in place upon her death; naming her mother and sister as executors. She then wrote a separate “letter of wishes” in which she instructed her executors to distribute her estate to her sons and 17 grandchildren. Exactly how much and what was left to the executors’ discretion.
Mistake: Assuming that executors will be fair-minded in the distribution of the estate.
Status: Michael Jackson had a trust in place, but never transferred his assets into the trust. A trust is set up to keep the affairs private and out of court, but with it not being fully funded, this resulted in a very public court process.
Mistake: Not funding the trust properly.