Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld recently passed away, leaving many wondering what will become of his estate. Lagerfeld, who was 85 at the time of his passing, had a pet cat, Choupette. The feline has even become famous in his own right, with an Instagram account and followers, table book and career modeling. Because this pet was so well cared for during Lagerfeld's life, many think that he may have left his estate in a way that ensures that Choupette is taken care of for a long time to come.
The vast majority of people who find estate planning imperative are those who have children. These individuals often want to make sure that their assets are left to their kids and their spouse in a way that protects their financial future and maintains the estate's financial viability. While these individuals certainly should consider how best to plan for the distribution of their estate upon death, even those without children should consider engaging in estate planning to ensure asset distribution that fits their desires.
No two families are the same. Some families may appear "traditional," with two spouses remaining married for the long-term and raising children, while others are "untraditional." These latter families can involve step-parents and step-children, unmarried couples, families with adopted children and even children conceived through artificial means. Regardless of the dynamics of a family, estate planning is crucial.
Estate plans can address significant wealth. When familial tensions run high, these plans can run into conflict, with multiple parties claiming that they should have their fair share of an estate's assets. Those who are not prepared to head off these disputes can have their estates distributed in a way that is in opposition to their wishes.