May 2016
May Insights
In April we all read about the passing of the musical celebrity, Prince. Prince is the latest example of a celebrity who died without a Will. Recent celebrities dying without a will include Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Gandolfini, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, to name a few. You would think with all their monies that an estate plan would have been a priority. 

According to the American Bar Association, recent statistical studies show that 55% of Americans die without a will or estate plan. These people don’t have up-to-date estate strategies to protect themselves and their families in the event of illness, accidents, or untimely death. Are you one of 55%?

Here are some reasons you need an estate plan. And for those of you with an existing estate plan, reasons to update your plan:

  • You probably will want to consider the needs of a new child or grandchild in your estate plan.
  • The death of your spouse or another beneficiary can greatly affect your plan. So, too, can the death of your named executor, your children’s guardian, or your trustee.
  • An important part of an estate plan is protecting yourself and your family against your possible incapacity or death.
  • If you marry, you most certainly will want to review your estate plan. Also when your children marry, you may want to revise the plan.
  • Most people review their estate plan if they divorce, but many fail to consider the possible unintended consequences of a beneficiary’s divorce on that beneficiary’s inheritance. For example, if your will gives your son and his wife joint ownership in your home, think of the problems that could arise if they divorce and you don’t revise your will.
  • If you move to a new state, your estate settlement could become more complicated, especially if you continue to own real estate in your “old” state. Consult with an attorney in your new state to learn more.
  • A substantial increase or decrease in the value of your assets in your estate plan may require a necessary revision.
I was once told the late comedian Henny Youngman carried coins inscribed “a round tuit”. Any time someone told him that they didn’t have time to do a task he would hand them one of these coins.

How many times have you said I’ll get around to it? Your estate plan can’t wait for you to get around to it!      


Below are a few articles which we hope you find useful. Let us know your thoughts and reach out with any questions. 
Another celebrity may have died without a will

According to early reports, music superstar Prince died without a will. Just days after his funeral, his sister Tyka Nelson petitioned the probate court to appoint a special administrator for the estate, stating that she believed that there was no will or other testamentary document. If there is, in fact, no will, the heirs will be Prince’s siblings and half-siblings in equal shares. Learn More.

The eternal optimist

The annual meeting for the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway has achieved something akin to cult status. In 2014 some 44,000 shareholders descended upon Omaha to hear the wisdom of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, the firm’s leaders. An estimated 40,000 were on hand on April 30, 2016, to get the latest information and browse the convention center for products sold by the businesses that Berkshire Hathaway owns. Learn More.

The “new” fiduciary rule

Ever since the meltdown of the financial services industry in 2008, there has been concern about the standards to which investment advisors should be held. The longstanding rule has been one of suitability; that is, the recommended investment must be suitable for the customer. That sounds perfectly reasonable.  Learn More.
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