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Celebrities Die Just Like the Rest of Us

Posted by Steve Worrall | Jul 04, 2009

Celebrities Die Just Like the Rest of Us

My colleague and fellow estate planning attorney and blogger, Jennifer N. Sawday, of the California Estate Planning Blog and the law firm of Tredway, Lumsdaine & Doyle, LLP has written a post on the recent deaths of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon. She has gotten some nice feedback on it in the blogging circles (way to go, Jenni!) and I have reposted it below:


Three very notable celebrities have died. Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and now Michael Jackson. Each had families. Each had loved ones. Each had assets. And each had potential contestants to their estate. Did each have an estate plan in place that was updated and reflected their wishes?

Time will soon find out. The media will report if their estate administration turns out to be a mess like Anna Nicole Smith's was.

Ed was survived by his wife so his estate is likely to be less burdensome whether he had an estate plan in place or not. A surviving spouse generally has an easier time on formal estate administration than children or other loved ones.

If you are not married like Farrah or Michael were — having an estate plan in place is very important especially if you want to provide for your partner or other loved one despite not being married.  Both Farrah and Michael had children that should be provided for. And Michael is survived by three young children. The mother of two of the children relinquished her parental rights so their guardianship and care may very well wind up being a contested matter.

You need to outline your wishes for disposition of your assets, nominate a successor trustee or executor to handle your affairs and otherwise make your wishes known.  Where there are minor children in place, it is very important to nominate guardians and have a trust in place in the event of your passing.

It simply does not matter who you are. An estate plan carefully drafted and funded in conjunction with your professional advisors, such as your attorney, accountant and financial advisors, is important. Important for everyone including celebrities.

May Ed, Farrah and Michael RIP.

SOURCE FOR POST: California Estate Planning Blog

About the Author

Steve Worrall

As a sandwich generation kid himself (caring for both children and aging parents), Marietta Georgia Estate Planning Elder Law & Probate Attorney Steve (Stephen M.) Worrall KNOWS the struggles you are facing as you raise children, balance the demands of your job, and take care of your aging parent...