Hi, my name is Kyle Krasa, and I’m an estate planning attorney in Pacific Grove, California. One of my favorite ways to teach basic principles of estate planning is to take a look at some famous counterexamples. Celebrities are notorious for making estate planning mistakes, and we can learn from those mistakes.
Now I’m standing in my office and one of the posters in my office is this poster entitled “Estate Planning, Failures of the Rich and Famous, Part Five.” There are so many mistakes that celebrities make the ad to have five posters and counting detailing, all the mistakes that celebrities made with regard to their estate planning. This poster is produced by Insurance News, Net Magazine.
And one of the, uh, failures that the poster describes is Thomas Kinkade, the famous painter of light. When he died, he had a $50 million estate, but it was discovered that he put together a little note that purportedly left $10 million to his girlfriend. And because the note was put together in a poor fashion his wife was able to contest that provision.
Whitney Houston, the famous singer, uh, failed to properly update her estate plan after her daughter was born. Like Thomas Kinkade, she put together a poorly drafted codicil to her will, and because it wasn’t put together in a more formal manner, in a professional manner, her mother was able to contest the estate plan.
And Ted Williams is a really interesting one. The famous baseball player, “The Splendid Splinter,” famous player of the Red Sox. When he died, there was controversy among his children about what to do with his remains. One child insisted that his father wanted to be cremated. The other two children insisted that he wanted to be cryogenically frozen, and that led to a battle after his death.
Now, one thing that all of these celebrities have in common is that none of them came to me to do their estate planning. So don’t make the same mistakes that all of these celebrities made. Make sure that you work with a competent attorney who is licensed to practice law in your community to put together a comprehensive estate plan to make sure that your wishes are carried out efficiently and effectively.