No estate plan: a lesson from the extraordinary life of Aretha Franklin

It’s been widely reported that Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul, died without any sort of Estate Plan leaving many people wondering: “Why would someone so successful not have a financial plan in place?”  We should all pause and THINK about what we’re trying to do with our assets after death.

Unfortunately, it is fairly common for people to die without even the simplest form of an Estate Plan.  Even tremendously successful individuals like Prince and Aretha Franklin have made this mistake.  While Prince and Aretha Franklin certainly have more complex financial affairs than most of us, Estate Plans are not just for rich people.  In fact, a basic plan can be relatively inexpensive, especially when you consider the potential legal fees and costs which arise when there is no plan at all.

WHY HAVE A WILL OR ESTATE PLAN?

Whether we are meeting with potential clients or giving estate planning seminars, we always stress the importance of having an estate plan in place no matter how simple the plan might be.  Even a simple Estate Plan gives your family guidance and allows them to R-E-S-P-E-C-T your wishes.

The only way you can be sure to “get what you want” is to properly (and legally) communicate your wishes. Simply telling someone won’t cut it. After all, neither a judge nor your family will be able to ask you after your death.  Having a plan in place can also help prevent family fights. You may think your family would never fight over your assets after you die. You may be right, but you may also be wrong. There’s no good reason to take a chance. Make your wishes so clear that your family members have nothing to fight about after your death.

An Estate Plan is important irrespective of your financial situation. You do not have to be rich or famous to need a Will. Even if you think you don’t have enough assets to justify an Estate Plan, it is likely that your possessions have real meaning to family members or friends.

WHY PEOPLE DON’T HAVE A WILL OR ESTATE PLAN.

Typically, people put off planning because they are “too busy” or they simply do not want to think about their own mortality. Death can be an unpleasant topic.  It is obviously an uncertain event which makes it is easy to put off and left for another today. However, death is an unfortunate reality for everyone.  As such, we should all learn a lesson from Aretha Franklin’s mistake and plan ahead.

WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE DIES WITHOUT A WILL?

If you don’t have an Estate Plan or Will, your Estate may become subject to state law and Probate Court orders. This is likely to lead to family arguments and legal fees and costs, which in the end reduces the amount of assets remaining for your family members.

NEED A TENNESSEE ESTATE PLANNING LAWYER?

We work hard to make setting up your Estate Plan as easy as possible.  Basic plans can be relatively inexpensive even though they are drafted with your specific needs and concerns in mind.  If you do not have an Estate Plan or have not had your plan reviewed in a number of years, you need an Estate Planning lawyer Memphis trusts to guide you through the process.

Call Wiseman Bray PLLC at 901-372-5003.

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