When Aretha Franklin — the Queen of Soul — died without a will, she joined a long line of entertainers who also died without leaving a clear path to divide their worldly goods. Here are estate planning tips inspired by among her most beloved music from CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional and Life Goes on Roadmap™ Co-Founder Steve Juetten.
When Aretha Franklin — the Queen of Soul — died without a will, she joined a long line of entertainers who also died without leaving a clear path to divide their worldly goods. Other entertainers who passed away without a will include Prince, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Sonny Bono and Kurt Cobain.
Perhaps the most notorious case of an entertainer who died without a will is James Brown. It’s been 11 years since he died and not a penny of his estate has been distributed yet. There is no end in sight to the chaos of his estate.
With Aretha’s passing in mind, here are smart tips for estate planning to ponder inspired by her music.
A recent study shows that over 60% of American adults don’t have a will. Show a little ‘RESPECT’ to heirs and get organized now. Think of estate documents like ‘A Bridge Over Troubled Water’ to help those who survive to get through the tough times and move on.
Recognize that ‘A Change Is Gonna Come.’ Even though no one likes to think about the end of life, it’s going to happen. Rather than just ‘Day Dreaming’ about creating estate documents for heirs, get started by finding a good estate attorney. Ask friends for referrals or look at the State Bar Association website for a list of estate planning attorneys. Consider engaging a tax adviser for complicated estates.
Take inventory of assets. Then ‘Think’ about how to distribute assets accumulated over time with others. Sit down with an estate attorney to make sure wishes are put down on paper in a legally binding way. Wishes need to be ‘Rock Steady.’ It’s too easy for assets to be mishandled by a ‘Chain of Fools.’
Four estate planning documents ar essential: a will, durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney and medical directive. These documents are the ‘Freeway of Love.’
Be ‘Willing to Forgive.’ Many times clients regret the passing of a relative. Be forgiving of family issues before it’s too late.
Finally wills and estate documents are not just for the rich. They are for ‘Everyday People’ including young adults — especially if there are children involved.
Once committed to creating an estate plan, it ‘Won’t Be Long’ before details are together for heirs. That’s a more complete option than just ‘Saying a Little Prayer’ and hoping for the best.
Keep in mind that estate plans may need to be adjusted over time as circumstances change. As Aretha sang, these are ‘Ever Changing Times’ and estate document needs to keep up.
About Steve Juetten, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional Steve Juetten is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional and the Co-Founder of Life Goes on Roadmap™. This is system for personal financial information organization that gives couples power, access, and control over their most important financial documents and accounts so either party can drive life forward, no matter what life serves up next. Download a useful tool to get organized at www.lifegoesonroadmap.com today.