This past year has seen the deaths of many of our beloved icons, including entertainers, sportsmen, newscasters, historic leaders, and political figures. Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher, George Michael, John Glenn, Muhammed Ali, David Bowie, Nancy Reagan, Arnold Palmer, Gene Wilder, Florence Henderson, Merle Haggard, and many others of note have left us, but they also left behind their legacies.

Estate Planning Example - Prince
Rock Idol: Prince

While their loss has been surprising to many of us, how will their heirs fare?  Will there be long, drawn out probates?  Will the government take huge chunks of their estates?  Will family members or interlopers battle for assets? Who will ensure that the deceased’s last wishes will be carried out?

We have seen recent incidents, such as the passing of rock idol Prince earlier in 2016, in which no will or estate plan was in place. His estimated wealth of some $300 million has come under the purview of the court system; an expensive, often divisive legal process that could have been virtually eliminated had he laid out his desires in an estate plan prior to his death.

You may not have Prince’s wealth, but you undoubtedly want your loved ones to know how you want your estate handled once you die. You want to ease their burden of prolonged legal entanglements and exorbitant taxes. You want your directives to be followed and your heirs and loved ones to share in your legacy, as you have determined.

Estate planning is not reserved only for celebrities and well-known or wealthy individuals. Estate planning is for everyone to protect them while they are alive and to preserve their legacies in their passing.

If you have questions or need assistance getting the help needed, call me at Terri Hilliard, PC: 805-201-2552 or e-mail thilliard@terrihilliard.com.