This commentary is taken from an article authored by Karen Datko in MSN Money on July 27, 2011. It gets right to the core of a will and its potential importance for your estate. I wanted to share this with you.
The late soulstress reportedly wrote a will that excluded her ne’er-do-well ex-husband.
The late Amy Winehouse was many things to many folks – fabulous talent, an inspiration to Lady Gaga, an addict who couldn’t quite shed her demons all come to mind. Add to that list: wise estate planner.
Winehouse’s revised will reportedly prevents any of her fortune, estimated at $16 million and most assuredly growing, from going to her ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, widely regarded as the person who introduced her to hard drugs. Instead, her millions will be divided among her father, Mitch; mother, Janis; and older brother, Alex.
“Let this be a lesson to both the famous and the obscure: A will is a good idea at any adult age,” Ron Dicker wrote at DailyFinance.
Fielder-Civil, now serving a sentence for burglary and possession of an imitation firearm, might have inherited everything had Winehouse not put a new will in place. Tim Worstall wrote at Forbes:
However, the one thing, under English law, that divorce does not do is undo the presumption that the natural inheritor is the spouse. In the absence of a will the surviving spouse will inherit at least the bulk of any estate.
Even in the presence of a will written pre-marriage which states otherwise the surviving spouse, or ex-spouse, will again be the natural inheritor.
How would it work in the United States? It varies from state to state, but generally if you die intestate, your estate will go to spouse and kids, or parents or siblings if you are single and don’t have children.
Do you have a will? There’s a good possibility you don’t, even if you’re well past 27. “According to an AARP survey, more than one third of Americans over 50 lack a will, living trust, or power of attorney,” Kimberly Palmer wrote at U.S. News & World Report.
If you’re a parent of minor children, consider yourself negligent if you don’t have one. Liz Weston of MSN Money wrote: “No matter how icky you feel about planning for your own demise, you owe it to your kids to spare them the potentially ugly and drawn-out custody battle that could ensue if you don’t make these decisions now.”
Whether you are older than 27 or younger than 27, it may be worth meeting to discuss a will. After all, it was a very smart move by Amy Winehouse and it could be equally beneficial to you. I’m available to schedule a meeting.