As discussed last week, estate planning is not just a luxury for the rich and famous. However, the average resident in Torrance can learn a thing or two from the manner in which stars handled, or in some cases failed to handle, the planning of their estate.
Updates on the handling of Michael Jackson's will continue to surface over three years after the King of Pop's death. Reportedly, in a letter recently signed by several of Jackson's siblings, the will is labeled "fake, flawed and fraudulent." The estate denies the remarks issued by the Jackson siblings that didn't receive any of the pop star's fortune.
In California, heirs have 120 days to challenge the validity of a will once it goes into probate. Even though the execution of a will generally happens after a loved one has passed and heirs are likely still grappling with grief, if an heir feels something is off, it is important to challenge it quickly.
Additionally, when a parent has small children, it is important to revisit the individual appointed as the guardian of the children should something happen to the parent. It is recommend to review and to update a will every couple of years. Jackson appointed his mother guardian of his children in 2002 when she was in her 70s. When he died in 2009, his will had not been update for seven years, and his mother was in her 80s and then responsible for three young children.
Estate planning can be a very complex process. It is important to retain experience legal counsel when embarking on this process to ensure that your assets are distributed according to you wishes.
Source: ABC News, "Michael Jackson Family Feud: Lessons for Wills and Trusts," Alan Franham, July 30, 2012