Aug 11, 2009

The Eccentric and the All-American

The recent deaths of quarterback Steve McNair and entertainer Michael Jackson give us a peek into the two celebrities' estate planning. What we've learned reads like The Prince and the Pauper. That's the classic Mark Twain novel about role reversal, where the prince ends up living like a peasant, while the look-alike peasant ends up on the throne.

You could say that when it comes to estate planning, Jackson and McNair switched places. Except neither gets a redo, like the prince and the pauper do in the book.
All-American football hero McNair sat on the bench. He may have planned the perfect pass, but he never planned his estate. He was murdered on July 4, leaving behind his wife Mechelle and their two children, as well as two additional children (and possibly more) from another relationship. Because he died intestate - without a will - the State of Tennessee now decides who gets what. The state will divvy up McNair's assets, which are expected to be substantial. Chances are there will be tax issues and creditor issues, many of which could probably have been finessed with the proper legal planning.

Surprisingly, it's the convention-defying, flamboyant Jackson who planned his estate. And contrary to his eccentric persona, he did it all by the book. He created a will, and a family trust which will keep his ultimate dispositions private. He appointed a guardian for his three young children. And as executors of his estate, he named two highly savvy individuals. To read Jackson's will, click here.

For your estate planning, you definitely want to be the prince, not the pauper. See a certified estate planning elder law attorney for your estate planning needs.

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