If you were rich and famous you would guard your money closely right? One of the first things you would do is create a comprehensive estate plan to ensure that your money would go to the people you want it to go to in the event of your death right? Most of us like to think so, but a shocking number of the rich and famous die intestate, without leaving behind even a simple Last Will and Testament to indicate how they want their estate assets handled after death. For example:
Bob Marley: The man who put reggae music on the map died after an eight month long bout with cancer, yet did not see fit to create a Will prior to his death. After his death, alleged children, mothers of those children and various relatives filed claims to his estate estimated to be worth $30 million at the time.
Michael Jackson: Although a Will was eventually located, it initially appeared as though the King of Pop died intestate. Jackson’s mother even filed probate documents claiming that her son died intestate (without a Will).
Howard Hughes: The eccentric billionaire who was worth in the neighborhood of $2.5 billion when he died in 1976 failed to leave behind a Will. Although one was produced after his death, it was later determined to be a forgery. Eventually, 22 cousins inherited Hughes’s fortune.
Pablo Picasso: The famous artist died at the age of 91 leaving behind homes, cash and artwork valued in the millions, but did not leave behind a Will. Six years later, at an estimated cost of $30 million, his estate was settled.
Certainly none of us would like to leave our families in this disarray. That’s why it’s important consult with a qualified Estate Planning Attorney.