Whether you love celebrities and enjoy following the details of their lives in the media or you pay little to no attention to stars aside from catching the occasional bit of information while flipping channels on the TV, you are likely well aware that the details of the lives and deaths of famous people are known by many. While some information published or broadcast regarding celebrities amounts to nothing more than gossip, there are some things that the public can learn from hearing about their lives and their deaths.
Estate planning comes into the spotlight every so often, when a beloved public figure dies. Many people know who died with a will, who died without a will, and what happened as the result of those decisions. For example, when Michael Jackson passed away, it came to light that he had a comprehensive estate plan in place. He entrusted his mother with the task of executor and made explicit provisions that ensure that his children will receive his present and future wealth. His story illustrates how a well-crafted estate plan can squelch family drama before it even starts by leaving no question as to what will become of his assets.
When John Singleton passed away earlier this year, it became evident that his will had not been updated for years. It was so outdated that it only included the oldest one of his seven children. The children are contesting the will in what could become a messy court battle. Additionally, some of Singleton’s assets were placed in a trust. That means that the amount of his assets that are covered by his will is only a portion of what he is passing on. The trust has its provisions for who will receive what, and the general public may not hear much about what happens to those assets because trusts are administered privately, outside of probate court. In contrast, wills are handled by the probate court, and matters before the probate court are matters of public record.
While a lot of the celebrity lifestyle cannot easily translate to what the majority of us experience, estate planning is different. Every person will die someday, whether they are a celebrity or not, and the result of having or not having a will are the same, whether or not the decedent is famous. The stories of Michael Jackson and John Singleton illustrate on a large scale what happens when someone dies with or without a will. Since many Americans are currently without any form of estate planning, their stories may encourage at least some of those people to step forward and begin the estate planning process.
When you are ready to get started with estate planning, call Wichita attorney J. Joseph at 316-265-7802, or contact us on the internet to schedule a consultation to discuss all of your Kansas estate planning questions.