Everyone knows that they need to create a comprehensive estate plan, yet even the rich and famous sometimes make mistakes when it comes to creating their estate plan. In fact, two of the biggest estate planning celebrity mistakes involved relying on the wrong documents – a mistake that could have easily been avoided with the proper advice from an estate planning attorney.
Princess Diana – the princess beloved by the entire world died in a tragic car crash back in 1997. Although the Princess left behind a detailed Last Will and Testament naming her sister and mother as executors, she then made the mistake of relying on a “Letter of wishes” and her executors to gift assets to her children and 17 godchildren. Instead of receiving valuable gifts, each recipient received nothing more than a trinket.
Warren Burger – believe it or not the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States died in 1995 with an estate worth close to $2 million and left nothing more than a 176 word Last Will and Testament he typed up himself. Along with incurring almost a half million dollars in estate taxes that could have been avoided, his administrators had to petition the court for simple things that could have been handled through a well-drafted Will.
The simple lesson to be learned from both of these extremely costly (both in terms of dollars and cents and in terms of emotional costs) mistakes is to consult with an attorney before you consider your estate plan complete.