Celebrity Estate Planning Mistakes Teach Lessons

Even though they usually have the money to get the best advice, celebrities often make mistakes with their estate plans.

Robin Williams

Cover of Robin Williams

An article in Forbes suggests a few lessons recent celebrity deaths can teach us about estate planning.

    1) Think about who you name to manage your trust. Robin Williams had created irrevocable trusts to provide for his three children and one reason was probably to protect their privacy. But the trust documents were made public after one of the original trustees passed away and the co-trustee needed a court to name a new one. Williams could have planned better.

    2) Plan for second marriages. DJ Casey Kasem’s final days were marred by fighting between his second wife and his adult children. His wife challenged his health care directives and his daughter’s status as his health agent. The lesson is that communication is key. Do your best to foster good relations between family members.

    3) Don’t give the IRS your money. Actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman didn’t want his kids to become “trust fund kids” so he made a straight bequest of his estate to their mother. But since he did not create a trust or trusts, she is going to pay huge taxes.