Amy Winehouse Didn’t Have an Estate Plan, Leaving Behind a $6.7 Million Estate
Did you know that 66 percent of adults don’t have an Estate Plan? Whether you are wealthy or have a modest estate, proper estate planning is critical.
When she unexpectedly passed away at age 27 with a $6.7 million estate, singer Amy Winehouse didn’t have any kind of Estate Plan in place. Winehouse may have wanted to pass money on to her brother, her ex-husband, or a charity of her choosing, but no one will ever know. Since she died without having any kind of Estate Planning, her entire estate was passed on to her parents under the laws of England.
Legally, if you die without a Will or Living Trust here in the U.S., the state determines who will be your ultimate heirs. This distribution plan can be found in the intestacy statute of each state. This law varies from state to state, but, typically, if you die intestate, the estate will go to your spouse and children, or to your parents or siblings if you are single and don’t have kids.
The applicable state law can be either the location of your legal residence (for personal property), or the state in which your assets are located (for real estate).
Here at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC, we advise that our clients should almost always use a Living Trust as their primary Estate Planning Tool, in order to protect your assets from probate. A Will allows you to direct who receives your assets (i.e. who are your beneficiaries) and who manages your estate (i.e. who acts as your executor or personal representative), but a Will does NOT protect your assets from going through the “nightmare of probate.”
Why is Probate such a Nightmare?
1) Probate requires frustrating intrusion by the court, lawyers, and the public at a very emotional and private time. A court may have to decide who is a legitimate creditor and may have to rule on distributions to children and other beneficiaries. Your executor (“personal representative”) may have to engage attorneys to shepherd the executor through the legal maze.
2) All of your legal and financial affairs will become public knowledge. The contents of your Will become a public record on file at the courthouse for everyone to view. Wills can be read by salesmen, reporters, and anyone who is curious – especially identity thieves and con artists who are trying to take advantage of someone who is grieving and going through the nightmarish probate process.
For a complete list of upcoming seminars, visit our website at www.davidwingate.com.
Peace of mind is only a call or click away! For an Initial Consultation call The Elder Law Office of David Wingate at (301) 663-9230 or visit www.davidwingate.com
David Wingate is an elder law attorney at the Elder Law Office of David Wingate, LLC. The elder law office services clients with powers of attorneys, living wills, Wills, Trusts, Medicaid and asset protection. The Elder Law office has locations in Frederick, Washington and Montgomery Counties, Maryland.
Notice: this Blog is published as a free service of the Elder Law Office of David Wingate. The information is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific questions, please consult with one of our experienced attorneys. We encourage you to share this newsletter with anyone you think may be interested.