Those who take the time to create an Estate Plan usually desire to keep it private and to ensure that no beneficiary can alter the plan after their death. Sometimes, the desire to maintain privacy backfires and produces unanticipated consequences, such as litigation.
When people think about an Estate Plan, they often have tunnel vision and focus on just a few of the many considerations that influence the plan. Most individuals focus on their assets and figuring out to whom they want those assets to pass. While those things matter, thinking about the intended beneficiary and their individual circumstances also matters. Certain types of beneficiaries require additional planning.
Despite knowing that they should have an estate plan, many individuals look for shortcuts to creating an Estate Plan. They rely upon advice from seemingly well-intentioned individuals that if avoiding probate is their main goal and they don’t have a taxable estate, they need not seek out an attorney to create an Estate Plan. While options exist to avoid probate, probate avoidance is just one of many considerations in creating an Estate Plan.
As the population over the age of 65 continues to grow, unique problems arise. For example, many seniors may have never married, or outlived their spouse and lack confidence that someone will help them make financial and health decisions as it becomes more difficult or when they become incapacitated. A qualified Estate Planning practitioner can provide guidance to address the issues unique to the solo senior.
When a famous individual dies, it’s always interesting to see how they set up their estate, if they bothered to undertake estate planning at all. These cases provide great lessons for Estate Planning practitioners both about what to do, as well as about what to avoid. In some cases, even when celebrities take the time to set up a proper estate plan, things go wrong. Paul Newman’s estate represents one such situation. Read on to learn more.