David Bowie's will shows what CA estate planning can do

The death of rock legend David Bowie at the age of 69 on January 10 came as a shock to many music fans in Northern California. Fortunately for his loved ones, Bowie had prepared an estate plan and executed a will in 2004.

Bowie left an estate estimated to be worth about $100 million. He left his Manhattan apartment to his surviving spouse, Iman Abdulmajid Jones, and a home in upstate New York to the daughter they had together. He also left $2 million and some stock to his personal assistant of many years, and $1 million to the nanny of his son from a previous marriage.

Of the residue of Bowie's estate -- the assets remaining after the specific bequests -- he left half to Ms. Abdulmajid Jones, 25 percent to his daughter and 25 percent to his son.

Because the daughter is under 18, the bequests to her were made through a trust. This is a common arrangement for bequests to minors. It helps ensure they will not gain full control of a large inheritance until they have reached a more mature age.

Bowie's will also directed that if possible he be cremated in Bali and his ashes scattered there. If it was not possible to be cremated in Bali the will instructed that his ashes were nonetheless to be scattered there. As it turned out, he was cremated in New Jersey.

David Bowie's will serves as an illustration of what can be done with thoughtful estate planning. Through his will, Bowie was able to set down his personal wishes as to wealth distribution, make specific gifts to people who were important to him, take care of a minor child and provide specific funeral instructions.

Source: New York Times, "David Bowie's Will Splits Estate Said to Be Worth $100 Million,"

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