Estate plans are a benefit to everyone who has one, but they are especially valuable to wealthy, high-profile individuals in the entertainment industry. Having a detailed plan for your assets allows you to care for your loved ones while also ensuring your business remains prosperous and protected after you leave this world.
Here are some estate planning mistakes to avoid when making important decisions about your legacy.
1. Ignoring the Inevitable
Many people die each year without having left a last will and testament behind to establish their wishes for their assets. Failing to make an estate plan leaves your heirs with a painful, confusing and expensive mess to clean up. If you’re a wealthy entertainer, your estate is also responsible for business debts and dealings after you pass away. Hear John Branca attorney to the late Michael Jackson, discuss the dangers of dying without a will in place.
2. Giving Away Too Much
Generosity is an admirable trait to be remembered for, but being too generous can be detrimental to your legacy. When musician Sammy Davis Jr. died, he had gifted away so much of his fortune that his family was unable to pay his nearly $7,000,000 tax debt to the IRS. According to attorney John Branca, estate planning is important because the business entity of a celebrity must go on even after death.
3. Trusting the Wrong Person to Execute Your Will
An essential part of estate planning is choosing someone you trust to execute your will. A loyal friend or family member may seem like the obvious choice, but is that person equipped to deal with the extensive demands of a sizable estate? Choosing a third-party trustee like John Branca, attorney with no personal interest in your assets, is ideal for making sure your business is handled and your wishes are carried out.
4. Not Seeking Expert Advice
When you’re ready to start the estate planning process, it’s important to talk to a financial or legal advisor. While a hand-written will in your nightstand may be a binding document, not understanding the complexities of asset division can have devastating repercussions for your heirs, leading to lengthy court battles, broken relationships and huge tax bills.
As an entertainer, loving family member and savvy business person, you should invest time and energy into understanding the intricacies of your estate, as well as the best way to protect it when you’re gone.