When Johnny Thunder, the lead singer of the pioneering punk rock band New York Dolls, died in 1991, he left behind just $4,000.
Since he didn't have much money, Thunder probably thought he did not have to do much by way of estate planning. That's a pretty common thought among people who don't consider themselves wealthy.
Unfortunately, it is an inaccurate impression.
Through careful investment, Thunder's sister was able to turn his $4,000 into $160,000. When she died in 2009, she didn't leave behind clear instructions over who should take over control of Thunder's estate.
The $160,000 isn't the only thing needing an administrator. The New York Dolls are enjoying a surge in popularity thanks to being featured on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs Of All Time" list. Without someone to exercise control over Thunder's name, image, and likeness, it seems a lot of economic opportunities are being missed.
The reason we are bringing this story up is that it shows why even people who do not think they are rich need to take basic estate planning steps. Having a will created, at the very least, is a responsible and practical step that everyone should take.
At the Law Office of James C. Shields, we help our clients understand the estate planning process. Our Torrance estate planning attorneys look at every case individually and come up with a customized plan that is uniquely tailored to each person.
For more information on our office and the work we do, please feel free to contact us at a time that works for you.