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08/30/2018

Even Queens Need Estate Plans

By Rachel Chesser, Planned Giving Officer

Paperwork

 

Estate planning is not often in the national spotlight, but recently The New York Times broke this news about the Queen of Soul:

"Aretha Franklin left no will when she died last week at the age of 76, according to documents filed on Tuesday in a Michigan court, which could result in details of her personal finances being made public."

South Carolina Public Radio aired a Marketplace story last week that took a deeper dive into the financial implications of not having a will:

"Prince also died without a will. So did Picasso, Howard Hughes and James Brown… This is not just a problem for celebrities. When someone dies without a will, the court divides up their assets and the government usually gets a tidy share. Why let that happen?"

Perhaps the Queen of Soul was like many of us – anxious and overwhelmed by the prospect of making estate plans. No matter what your means – modest to quite comfortable – it is understandably hard to start the process of getting your affairs in order.

I am at the stage in life (perhaps even past it) when my husband and I need to begin to make our modest estate plans. I’m going to be honest with you – I fall firmly into the “overwhelmed” category. So many documents, so many decisions, so much hassle. Or so I thought…

The ETV Endowment is taking part in National Estate Planning Awareness Week in October. We will be sharing information and other opportunities at that time. One of the handy things we will be sharing is a FREE personal estate planning guide. I had a sneak peek at the guide a few weeks ago and it is a tremendous tool for getting started; I think even this procrastinator will be inspired to dive in. It will help organize the essentials:

  • Personal information
  • Family contacts
  • Healthcare information
  • Medical providers
  • Types of assets you own
  • Your advisors

We can all set the goal of October being when we finally start making our own plans. Check back on our Planned Giving page in October to request your guide. Until then, enjoy this remembrance of Aretha Franklin from PBS NewsHour.