Building Legacies that Last Estate Planning and Elder Law

Princess Diana’s Estate Plan

9aa3f79b8231f3c510cf05d1b718abbf“Family is the most important thing in the world.” Diana, Princess of Wales, was the most beloved soul that left the world too soon. When Princess Diana died on August 31, 1997, the whole world mourned because their queen was gone and her legacy of social work was cut way too short thanks to the paparazzi. Unfortunately, Lady Diana Spencer’s failure to have a proper estate plan came into play 17 years after her death.

Along with creating a will, Diana had created a Letter of Wishes. That letter contained the fact that ¾  of her jewelry and prize possessions were to be given to her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry and the ¼ would be given to her 17 godchildren. Unfortunately, this letter was not recognized and her godchildren only received one item of Diana’s estate. This letter went undisclosed for several years until it was revealed due to the outrage of the parents of the godchildren who were supposed to receive the ¼ of Diana’s estate.

According to the executors of her estate, they had filed a “variance” after her death which was supposed to distribute the money to her sons until they turned 30 which of course did not occur.

In Diana’s case, Personal Property that is valuable and important should be directly in a will or trust. Not a letter. If Diana had done this in her estate plan, there would be no questions about what the deceased individual wanted. Also, there would have been no variances. Even though Diana was the beloved princess of the world, by making the mistakes and causing much havoc in her family, her estate plan ended up in turmoil.

Michelle Profit is an estate planning attorney serving Maryland and the District of Columbia. A Harvard Law School graduate, she has worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years. A dedicated advocate for all of her clients, Michelle Q. Profit personally handles each client case from start to finish to meet the client’s needs and objectives. Michelle listens in the consultation sessions and works with any other client accountants or financial planners to create a comprehensive estate plan.

 

 

 

Sonny Bono’s Estate Plan

“I’ve got you babe.” Those were the words that the beloved Sonny Bono said to Cher in 1965, 33 years before his tragic death in 1998 from a ski accident. Salvatore “Sonny” Bono was a comedian, a father, a singer, and also a congressman who appealed to to the younger generations as a figure of American singer- songwriters. His fame skyrocketed after he married his second wife, Cher in 1964 and produced a show, “The Sonny and Cher Show,” which featured even their own daughter Chaz(Formerly: Chastity) Bono, who is now a man.

Along with his career, his death also sparked some difficulty. Since he died without a will, his estate was even up for grabs, even for his second wife Cher. Cher sued Sonny’s fourth wife, Mary Bono, and the estate for $1.6 million dollars that was in unpaid alimony. That money consisted of: $25,000 per month for six months, $1,500 per month for child support, and $41,000 in attorney fees. Whether or not Cher collected this money is up for debate even to this day.

By not creating his will, Sonny’s legacy suffered drastically. It was all filled with legal fees and like before it is now up for grabs. Don’t make the same mistake that Sonny did. Create an estate plan.

Michelle Profit is an estate planning attorney serving Maryland and the District of Columbia. A Harvard Law School graduate, she has worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years. A dedicated advocate for all of her clients, Michelle Q. Profit personally handles each client case from start to finish to meet the client’s needs and objectives. Michelle listens in the consultation sessions and works with any other client accountants or financial planners to create a comprehensive estate plan.

 

After Divorce and Remarriage

MP900178564[1]If you have been divorced and remarried, do not consider yourself done with all of the legalities when your divorce is finalized and your marriage license filed. You still need to do some estate planning.

For most people, getting divorced is a legal headache. There is all sorts of legal and financial paperwork that must be gathered, filled out and filed with the court. You might have to go through multiple meetings with attorneys, formal mediation and several court hearings before the process is over. It can take months and in some cases years.

If you go to get remarried, then you have even more legal and financial paperwork that needs to be filled out and filed. While you might want that to be the end of all the legal things you have to do, it is not.

As Splitopia points out in "Protect Those You Love in Divorce, and Remarriage," there are other details you need to mind or avoid them to your peril.

These other things you still need to do include:

·         Change Your Estate Plan – Your estate plan likely had your former spouse receiving much of your property. It should be changed immediately after your divorce is final. It should be changed again to include your new spouse when you get remarried.

·         Update Beneficiaries – If you have any life insurance policies, retirement accounts or transfer on death bank accounts, then you need to make sure those are changed as well to make sure your former spouse is a beneficiary on them and to include your new spouse if you want to.

After getting divorced and remarried you probably do not want to deal with attorneys for a while. However, estate planning attorneys are only there to assist you and you need their help at that time. Visit with one.

Reference: Splitopia (Oct. 5, 2016) "Protect Those You Love in Divorce, and Remarriage."