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Life rarely turns out as expected, which is why you should carefully plan out how your estate will be distributed after you pass away.

Learn from the mistakes of these famous celebrities who died without an up-to-date estate plan. If they had had a will or trust properly set up, it could have saved their families a great deal of heartache, time, and legal fees.

Diamond Estate Planning has been helping McHenry, Illinois families set up estate plans for years. With Diamond Estate Planning, you can be sure that your family’s future will be secure, even after you are gone.

1. Prince

At the time of his death in 2016, Prince’s estate was reportedly worth more than $300 million. 

Unfortunately, however, the Grammy award-winning musician also passed away without a will, making it much more difficult to know how he would have wanted his estate divided among various family members. 

It took a probate judge in Minnesota years to make final determinations about Prince’s estate.

An easy way to avoid this drama is to create a will. But the sad truth is that almost 2 out of 3 American adults don’t have a will. A will is more than a list of generous gifts to loved ones – a legally secure method of ensuring that your loved ones have the financial security that they deserve after you’re gone.

2. James Gandolfini

James Gandolfini, the actor famous for his role in the hit show the Sopranos, died in 2013 of a heart attack. 

Although he did have a will that distributed his estate—which was reportedly worth $70 million—to his wife, daughter, and two sisters, he had not planned well enough to reduce the tax burden on his inheritors. 

It was reported that almost 55 percent of his estate had to go towards paying off taxes. 

The Illinois estate tax currently applies only to estates that exceed a value of $4 million. Estates worth more than this are taxed on a sliding scale in which the more valuable estates are taxed at a higher rate.

A smart way to potentially reduce the tax burden on your survivors is to establish a trust. If your Illinois estate is valued at more than $4 million, you may be able to utilize a trust to avoid paying unnecessary taxes. Your surviving family members may then receive those assets upon meeting the conditions of the trust.

3. Heath Ledger

Oscar-winning actor Heath Ledger reportedly had an estate worth more than $20 million at the time of his death in 2008. 

He also had a will, but this will was not updated and did not mention his young daughter Matilda. There is little doubt that had the will been updated, he would have apportioned a large part of his estate to Matilda, but instead, his estate was allocated to his parents and three sisters. 

(Thankfully, news accounts later revealed that the Ledger family did gift all of the funds from the estate to Heath’s daughter.)

It is important to modify your will as major life events like new children, divorces, and asset adjustments occur. It is also highly recommended that you update your estate plan every 3 to 5 years because tax laws change so often.

Choose Diamond Estate Planning to Protect Your Family’s Future

If you live near McHenry, Illinois, set up a consultation with Diamond Estate Planning to discuss your family’s financial future. With Diamond Estate Planning in your corner, you don’t have to worry about how your family will deal with estate taxes, financial debts, or distribution of assets. 

Call 779-704-5738 or schedule an appointment online to learn more about Illinois estate planning.


DISCLAIMER: Any information contained herein is solely for informational purposes. While it is important that you educate yourself, nothing herein should be construed as legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For specific questions, we urge you to contact a local attorney for advice pertaining to your specific legal needs.

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