Death and taxes (and illness) may be unavoidable … but they don’t have to ruin your family or your business. Make the effort to protect the people you really care about. Here are some lessons from famous people who made some BIG mistakes in their Wills and estate planning.
Celebrity: Allan Scott
Mistake: Not Managing Family Expectations in Will
In a Supreme Court claim in South Australia, two of Mt Gambier trucking magnate Allan Scott’s daughters settled claims against their father’s estate for more than $12 million each, more than triple what each had been left in Mr Scott’s Will, which he had signed while he was ill in the weeks before his death. The millionaire businessman’s widow also has made a claim against her husband’s estate, yet to be resolved. In his Will, Mr Scott had left the bulk of his $600 million estate to two favoured children.
Lesson: Preferring some family members over others in your Will requires great care and planning to reduce the chances of an expensive family disaster.
Celebrity: Heath Ledger
Mistake:Not updating documents.
Story: When actor Heath Ledger died at age 28 in 2008, he left a Will written three years before he died, prior to his relationship with the mother of his daughter, Matilda Rose. The Will left everything to his parents and sister.
Lesson: When life changes, update your Will, Powers-of-Attorney, Advance Directives, Joint accounts, Superannuation and Insurance policies.
Celebrity: Marlon Brando
Mistake: Making oral promises.
Story: Actor Brando’s “assistant” Angela Borlaza claimed Brando gave her the house she lived in, saying he had kept it in his name for tax reasons. She settled with the executors of his estate for $125,000. She also claimed Brando promised her continued employment with a company he owned, and settled that claim out of court.
Lesson: Oral promises won’t do; if you’re serious, execute the right written documents.
Celebrity: Jimi Hendrix
Mistake: Never writing a Will.
Music legend Jimi Hendrix died at age 27 in 1970 without a Will. Under state law, his dad, Al, got everything, leaving his close brother Leon with nothing. Al built Hendrix’s musical legacy into an $80 million venture, but in his own Will cut out Leon and his family, in favour of his adopted daughter through a later marriage.
Lesson: No-one is immortal. Create a Will.
Celebrity: Warren Burger
Mistake: Relying on do-it-yourself documents.
Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court Warren Burger died in 1995 with a $1.8 million estate and a Will of just 176 words he typed up himself. His family paid $450,000 more in estate taxes than needed to be the case, and his executors had to pay to go to court to get approval to complete administrative acts such as selling real estate, that typically a well-drafted Will would have allowed without court approval.
Lesson: Even if you know a bit about the law, get a lawyer who specialises in estate planning to write your Will.
Celebrity: Princess Di
Mistake: Relying on a “letter of wishes” to give away belongings.
At her death in 1997, Princess Diana left a detailed Will, naming her sister and mother as executors. She also wrote a separate “letter of wishes” asking her executors, at their discretion, to divide her belongings among her sons and her 17 godchildren. But instead of getting stuff worth an estimated 100,000 pounds, each godchild got only a trinket.
Lesson: If it’s not in the Will, it shouldn’t be relied upon.
Genders and Partners can help you to protect yourself, your family and your assets. Let us assist you with Estate Planning in Adelaide metro area and all over South Australia, for your family’s future. Contact us today on 08 8212 7233 to arrange a FREE telephone consultation and to request a FREE copy of our special Report: “7 Things You Must Know About Wills and Estate Planning”. Why home-made Wills can be a LOT more expensive than you might think. The secret weapons used by the rich & powerful to protect their assets, and transfer their wealth two or three generations ahead. How Estate and Trustee Companies make BIG money from “free” Wills. The Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes, how they can cost your family a fortune, and How to Avoid Them. The Elements of a Sound Estate Plan – why a Will alone is not enough. How to Make Sure Your Assets Stay in Your Family and are not lost to creditors, lawsuits or ex-spouses. How to guard against challenges to your Estate after you’re gone.
SPECIAL REPORT “7 Things You Must Know Before You Make Your Will”
In this report you will Learn:
NEED ADVICE? JUST ASK US A QUESTION. (replies during business hours)
Why home-made Wills can be a LOT more expensive than you might think.
The secret weapons used by the rich & powerful to protect their assets, and transfer their wealth two or three generations ahead.
How Estate and Trustee Companies make BIG money from “free” Wills.
The Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes, how they can cost your family a fortune, and How to Avoid Them.
The Elements of a Sound Estate Plan – why a Will alone is not enough.
How to Make Sure Your Assets Stay in Your Family and are not lost to creditors, lawsuits or ex-spouses.
How to guard against challenges to your Estate after you’re gone.