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Tampa Estate Planning Attorney > Blog > Estate Planning > If These Estate Planning Mistakes Can Happen To Celebrities, They Can Happen To You

If These Estate Planning Mistakes Can Happen To Celebrities, They Can Happen To You


It is fun to read about the foibles of people who have a lot more money than you.  Tabloids and reality TV derive their entertainment value from the fact that we in the audience believe that we have much better judgment about love, money, and parenting.  We think that we would never be dumb enough to buy the most expensive private jet our available credit could buy and then default on the loan when our next album flopped.  As beautiful as our daughter may be, we would offer to pay her law school tuition but not to invest in her career as a model.  If you read about celebrity estate disputes, a pattern emerges, though.  The estate planning mistakes that cause a famous person’s estate to spend years in probate court are the same mistakes that you and I could make and probably already have made; the only difference is the value of the estate.  The fastest way to fix your state planning mistakes is to contact a Tampa estate planning lawyer.

Reconciling With a Family Member in Real Life, but Not in Your Estate Plan

Becoming estranged from a family member is so jarring that you might write a new will immediately after an argument with a family member, disinheriting him or her.  It is your right to do this; you can leave money to anyone you choose and disinherit anyone you choose.  When things are going well with your family, money is the farthest thing from your mind.  It is as easy to forget to update your will when you reconcile with an estranged family member as it is when you remarry.  Death does not wait for procrastinators, though, so the time is now to update your will to show your formerly estranged family member that all is forgiven.

This is what happened with 1970s pop idol David Cassidy and his daughter Katie.  Cassidy was never married to Katie’s mother and he was not in her life when she was a child, but they established a relationship when she was an adult.  Despite this, he never rewrote his will to make her a beneficiary, so even though Cassidy’s net worth was in the millions when he died, Katie did not get an inheritance from her father.

Writing a Will but Not Letting Your Family Know Where It Is

No one has to know what your will says, but the people close to you should know where to find it.  Track and field athlete Florence Griffith Joyner died at age 38 from a seizure disorder; at the time, her daughter Mary Ruth was only seven.  The good news is that she wrote a will, as all parents should do.  The bad news is that her family did not know where she kept her will, and the search for it delayed the probate proceedings.  Her estate settled in 2002, four years after she died.

Contact David Toback About Avoiding Estate Planning Mistakes

A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you fix common mistakes with your estate plan.  Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.



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