Celebrity Ignorance Creates a Nightmare After Death



I just learned that the celebrity, Prince, the music icon, (Prince Rogers Nelson), didn’t have a will! Good Lord, my mind is blown!

This is tragic news for his estate, his family, and his own personal wishes. It constantly amazes me that celebrities with an enormous amount of wealth ignore this necessary step of wealth management.

Intestacy is the condition of the estate of a person who dies owning property whose value is greater than the sum of their enforceable debts and funeral expenses without having made a valid will or other binding declaration.

When this happens, the state the decedent (the person who passed away) lives in has the jurisdiction to enforce their intestacy laws. These are the rules that determine how their property will be distributed upon their death. This includes any bank accounts, securities, real estate, and other assets owned by the decedent at the time of their death.

There are costs involved with this process. Costs that are established by statute, meaning the law determines the fees being charged. There is no negotiating. There is no way around these fees as they are the law. Nor are these fees a tax. They are a “bill” that will be presented to the executor (if there is a will) or the administrator (if the state declares and appoints an administrator since the decedent didn’t appoint an executor).

PlanningThat bill is expected to be paid in a timely fashion. Often there aren’t enough liquid assets for a family to pay these fees and assets, such as family homes, are liquidated quickly (we call it a fire sale) for prices less than market rates to produce quick cash to fee the probate fees.

So what’s the solution? Check with your state to learn what size an estate must be in order to require going through the probate process. If the estate is smaller, the fees can be reduced or avoided (depending on state law).

In EVERY case, you need the following documents to protect your estate and your final wishes:

  1. Durable Powers of Attorney for healthcare and finance. These are two separate documents. As a result you can choose a specific person for your money matters and possibly a different person for your healthcare.
  2. Living Will or healthcare directives. This document explains to the healthcare provider what treatment you want, if any, in the case of your incapacitation and inability to express your wishes yourself. Without this document, the doctor in charge has all the control …right down to the pajamas you’re wearing.
  3. HIPPA Release Form. You must declare who want to be able to discuss your healthcare, including getting status reports, if they are not the named power of attorney for healthcare. This is incredibly important for BFFs, besties, children, and other loved ones.
  4. A Will. Do you want your heirloom ring to go to your son, daughter, niece, nephew, grand kid, or best friend? You better say so and do it in a way that legally binds your survivors.
  5. A Living Trust. This is one document you need to research as you may not need it if your estate is small enough to escape the probate process. Do your homework. Check your state laws. If you have property in two states, speak to a certified estate planning attorney to discover how to handle the disposition of assets legally.

EP_familyI can speak from personal experience how money can make good, faithful people do outlandish, and even criminal, things. It’s very sad, tragic, and destructive. It can all be avoided if you do the responsible thing and handle your estate and last wishes yourself and in compliance with the laws governing your state.

My heart goes out to Prince and his family. I pray they navigate these turbulent waters without a nightmarish outcome.

Remember, it’s your money, your rules, your way.

Money Savvy Woman, Inc. © 2016

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Why You Need A HarMoneyous Advisor

“What’s my next move? What should I do first?”

“Am I doing the right thing? Do I really need this?”

“How am I going to stop making this same mistake, over and over again? Who can teach me how to do this the right way?”

Do you find yourself questioning yourself, feeling stuck, and unable to move ahead financially because you simply don’t know what to do or how to do it? Might I suggest working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM Professional? You may be glad you did.

Not all “financial planners” see your entire financial picture. Nor are they certified. When planning for your future, there are several reasons why working with a CFP(r) is a better way to go. Check out the four “E’s” below.

Exam – First of all, a CFP(r) has been trained and tested to the point where they have passed a proctored, two-day exam proving their ability to layer a client’s financial needs in the most beneficial way for the client.

EducationSuccessful CFPs(r) have studied the areas of Investments, Insurance, Tax Planning, Retirement Planning, Employee Benefits, College Planning, and Estate Planning. Although they may not be licensed to practice all the disciplines mentioned, (would you really want to work with a “jack of all trades?”), they have also committed to continuing education on an annual basis. This broad range of understanding is essential in helping you achieve plans that fit like a glove as opposed to those that focus on only one aspect of your life.

ExperienceA prospective CFP(r) Certificant cannot sit for the exam until they have accumulated a minimum of five years’ experience in the financial industry. This speaks volumes. Have you ever wondered how experienced your advisor is? One year of full-time employment is roughly 2,000 hours of experience. Multiply that times 5 and you’ve got a professional with 10,000 hours of experience. The New York Times best-selling author, Malcolm Gladwell, calls that an “expert.” However, I want to point out that they are an expert in their field. Some CFP(r) Professionals are experts in insurance, others investments, others in tax or estate planning. Some of specialize in comprehensive planning, or putting it all together.

Ethics – Most importantly, CFP(r) Professionals also deliver their services within ethical boundaries established by the CFP(r) Board of Standards. CFPs(r) are bound to act as fiduciaries, which in layman’s terms means “Putting their clients’ needs before their own.”

I took my CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM Certificant exam in November 2007 and learned I’d passed it on January 3, 2008. This was the highlight of my career. Having acquired this certificate, working with clients has become more rewarding as I know how to fit the pieces of their financial puzzle together in the most economical and beneficial way. Advising them as to what to do, avoid, and modify is something I do very well and enjoy immensely. I enjoy specializing in comprehensive planning, investments, and insurance. Would you rather have your financial plan fit you like a well-tailored suit, or a hospital gown??

Working with a career insurance agent, Certified Public Accountant, or Estate Planning attorney is desired when putting a financial team together. But only a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM Professional has been trained, tested, and certified to analyze your entire situation in a way that suits you best.

When it comes to your finances, your money earned and saved, it only makes sense to work with someone who can guide you in fitting those pieces together, advising you on the whole “pie,” so to speak. Taking this approach can save you time, energy, and money so you don’t make decisions based on a single piece of the pie.

Living a HarMoneyousTM life is so important, don’t disregard it out of confusion or fear. I’m here to help you… that’s what I do.


Teachers, Municipal & Government Employees …Listen up!!

If you’re a teacher or a municipal or government employee, your retirement is wrapped up in an annuity, a CONTRACT with a life insurance company. There are specific rules you must play by to avoid penalties AND get the most bang for your buck when pulling your money out of these things… one thing I didn’t say in this 5-minute vlog is… ALL distributions are taxable. Uncle Sam will want his money, so get smart before you start withdrawing.