There are various different mistakes that can be made when you are planning your estate. Some of them are errors of commission, and many of them are errors of omission. Sometimes, it’s a combination of both.
With this in mind, let’s examine the estates of two well known celebrities.
Sammy Davis, Jr.
People who can remember the entertainment scene during the 1950’s through the 1980’s certainly recognize the name Sammy Davis, Jr. He was a member of the famed “Rat Pack” along with Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and others.
The versatility of this entertainer really sets him apart from virtually everyone else. He starred on Broadway, in movies, and on television in dramatic and comedic roles. He was also a prolific nightclub performer and a talented singer.
Sammy Davis, Jr. made many millions of dollars while he was living, and he did have a last will in place. However, his heirs were largely unrewarded for his efforts.
Estate planning is best viewed as part of a holistic long-term financial plan. To bluntly cut to the chase, if you don’t have anything left to leave behind, your estate plan isn’t going to do much good.
If you have specific legacy goals and you want to do certain things for those that you love, you have to keep this in mind when you are allocating financial resources throughout your life.
Sammy Davis, Jr. was known to spend a lot of money, and even though his income was considerable, he ultimately left behind an enormous tax bill that swallowed up the resources that he wanted to leave behind to those that he cared about.
With more effective planning, he could have ensured a different outcome.
The estate of Marilyn Monroe has continued to earn staggering sums of money for decades after her passing. You would think that someone that she knew and cared about would have been reaping these rewards. In fact, the Marilyn Monroe estate fell into the hands of a woman that she didn’t even know because of her estate planning errors.
If you want to leave your assets to someone, you have to ask yourself what would happen to the resources in the event of this individual’s passing. As you are doing this, you should make no assumptions as you consider every possibility.
Marilyn left the majority of her estate to Lee Strasberg, her acting teacher. Monroe was also close to his wife Paula.
Though Paula was eight years younger than Lee, she died before he did and he remarried. Ultimately his third wife Anna wound up in possession of the Marilyn Monroe estate even though she had never met the legendary actress.
This could have been prevented if Marilyn had planned her estate in a different manner.
To assure that you have a properly drafted estate plan that assures your assets will go to your intended heirs, consult with a highly qualified estate planning attorney.