Celebrities. They’re different from the rest of us, right? They must be! They’ve got tons of money, they have better fashion, they drive fancy cars, they are in the news… So they must get better advice and have good planning in place, too. Surely!
Every now and then, though, a curtain is pulled back and the truth shines out. They’re just like us. Just like you and me. Here’s the cold, hard truth: celebrities face mortality, just like the rest of us. On April 21, 2016, Prince, one of the world’s most successful musicians, died. Included in the information blasted out by the media was the rumor that he did not leave behind a will. If that is indeed the case (representatives are searching everywhere for a will), then Prince left no instructions about how to handle an estate currently valued between $100M and $300M and expected to grow exponentially following his death. The cost and complexities created by the situation are staggering. It’s likely that settling such an estate without guidance left by Prince will be expensive and embattled. The lost opportunity of the legacy that could have been is disheartening.
You see, a will is your last opportunity to share with loved ones and the world the desires you have for the assets that are left after your death. In Prince’s case, the chance to guide the destination of and the impact of his life’s financial success is lost. Perhaps it wasn’t important to him. But what if it was?
I encourage you to review and consider your own situation. Do you have a will? Have you left instructions and guidance for those who are left after your passing? Will your assets go to those you wish to receive them? Will your loved ones be subject to fighting amongst themselves and in a public court battle? Will you surrender the opportunity to have your wealth, however great or small, go where you think it will be best used?
Here’s another truth: getting your affairs in order isn’t that hard and isn’t that expensive. And no, it isn’t only for the rich and famous. For most of us, simple planning is sufficient and effective. Start with conversations. Talk to your spouse, your children, and any other people who should be in the loop, like your financial advisor. Then, make it official. Have a qualified professional help you draft documents that carefully, articulately, and legally record your wishes.
It’s important – to you, to your loved ones, and to the legacy and impact you can leave behind.