One of the primary goals of an estate plan is to take care of your family in the event of your death. It is not often pleasant to reflect on those circumstances, but it is a reality that all of us will necessarily face at one time. The best course of action, therefore, is to address potential problems and solve them using the legal tools available.
The death of Whitney Houston this past week in a California hotel was an occasion to mourn the singer's untimely death, and to remember how her soaring mezzo-soprano voice brought joy to the lives of millions. But at the same time many people wondered how much money she had accumulated and who would be the beneficiary of all that wealth.
Last week we discussed the importance of being proactive in developing a California estate plan to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event of a sudden illness or accident. But that is merely the first step in the process. Executing a will and then placing it in a safety deposit box to accumulate dust is not a strong estate plan.
Legendary singer Etta James passed away on January 20, 2012, as she succumbed to complications due to leukemia. The world renowned singer--famous for songs such as "At Last" and "I'd Rather go Blind"--died at a Riverside, California hospital with her husband and two sons at her side.
Some very large estates have been divided in California courts. But sound estate planning is not just for Hollywood millionaires, titans of industry, and masters of the universe. Every person needs to lay out a detailed plan, so that when the time comes to dispose of one's property, the process can be as free from strife and discord as possible. Most importantly, a strong estate plan will most fully effectuate the intent of the person who created it.