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Lessons learned from celebrity estate plans

Many Nevada residents might think that estate planning is meant more for wealthy people, but it is an essential part of nearly every financial plan. It is a mistake, according to financial planning experts, to ignore the possibility of death at any age. One way to learn about what to do when making a will is taking a look at the estate plans of the rich and famous.

The first lesson is that a do-it-yourself will does not always work like it did for Chief Justice Warren Burger. The courts do not always recognize videotaped or handwritten wills or wills that are not properly witnessed. People who take this approach risk having all of their wishes ignored after death. Having a problem with the execution of the will makes it invalid and allows the state to step in.

Lesson two is that life does not always go as planned, so it is wise for people with assets to think ahead and create an estate plan to protect their loved ones. Actor Paul Walker, who died relatively young in a fiery car accident, was smart to make a will and set up a trust for his teenage daughter.

It is essential that people update their estate plans after major events in their lives, such as marriage or childbirth. Unfortunately, actor Heath Ledger had a will at the time of his death, but it did not include his daughter because she was born after he made the document. His will left all of his assets to his parents and sisters instead, and his daughter might have been left with nothing if the family had not decided to leave her the entire inheritance.

Along with these lessons, it is important that people ensure that their estate plans are complete, they consider how children will be cared for and leave clear instructions to avoid conflict. An attorney who has experience with these matters can assist a client in undertaking a periodic review of existing documents and updating them when necessary.

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