It is always tragic when someone dies. In the past couple of months, well known individuals and celebrities have unexpectedly died – Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Billy Mays and Steve McNair. It has now become known that Steve McNair did not have a Will or any sort of estate plan. Besides his current wife and two children, he had two children from a previous relationship. It is now up to the laws of Tennessee to determine who receives his assets and how and when they are distributed. Given the probable size of his estate, the IRS may actually be the biggest beneficiary as a result of his death, receiving upwards of 45% of his assets.
Most of us do not think we are going to die tomorrow. This is especially true of athletes. The lesson that should be learned by these unfortunate deaths is that the future is unknown. And, while there is a media circus surrounding the death of Michael Jackson, in the end, it will be determined that he created a conservative, private estate plan that will allow for the future wellbeing of his children, mother and others and or charitable causes close to him.
The bottom line is no matter how young or healthy you are, no matter your wealth or family situation, estate planning allows you to control who receives your assets, allows you to determine who makes decisions for you and your young children, allows you to determine how and when your assets are distributed and finally, may prevent the IRS from receiving the lion’s share of your estate.