Do as They Did: 3 Smart Celebrities
These famous folks have all earned A-list status, but they also deserve high marks for creating solid estate plans. When the unthinkable happened, their forethought and planning paid off, providing yet another reason to admire these three megastars.
In Trusts We Trust
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was focused, demanding, creative and passionate. He was also smart. In estate planning, as in the rest of his life, Jobs put his genius to good use. When he died at 56, Jobs’ estimated wealth exceeded $7 billion. And almost all of it is safely tucked away in living trusts created several years before his death.
The lack of information about his estate plans is a tribute to Jobs’ precision. A lengthy illness provided him with ample opportunity to create an estate plan that would protect his family and virtually eliminate estate taxes. Trust terms remain private even after death, so his careful estate planning means there’s an excellent chance Jobs’ exact plans will remain a mystery.
A Timely Revision
Just six days before she died from breast cancer, Elizabeth Edwards signed a new will that left all of her personal property to her three children. Although she was still legally married to her estranged husband, John Edwards, he was excluded from the will. Elizabeth Edwards had very likely created several wills over the course of her life, but the final revision in her last days trumped all prior wills.
Her careful planning and updated will provided for her children and protected her estate from taxes by placing assets into a revocable living trust that she established several years before her illness. But this also serves as a reminder of the importance of keeping your will up-to-date.
Tuning Into Generosity
When he died in 2008, 46-year-old Leroi Moore left behind legions of passionate fans. Moore was a masterful saxophonist and talented arranger who helped to create the unique sound that rocketed the Dave Matthews Band to international fame.
Moore devoted his life to the band, and his legacy endures through the music that he created. But he was also a generous philanthropist. His dedication is evident in his estate plans, which designate most of his estate to help others. The Leroi Moore Fund funds five scholarships and makes annual contributions to four charities that were dear to Moore. His planning ensures the good works Moore began in life will endure for many years after his death.
These stories all remind us that you are never too young to build a legacy. If you haven’t started the important process of creating a will, here are three simple ways to get started:
- Figure out what you have. This includes determining the value of your assets and estimate outstanding debts, and think about how you want to divide things up among family and friends.
- Make some choices. If you have dependents of any age, you need to name a guardian to care for them. You will also need to choose an executor to be in charge of handling your estate. Both are important roles so choose carefully.
- Contact a professional. An estate planning attorney is the only person who can help you to prepare a legally sound will that will protect your loved ones and provide for organizations dear to you. Learn more about how to prepare for this meeting in our FREE eBrochure.
Contact Tim Enstice at 757-962-8213 or Legacy@peta.org to learn more about how to create an estate plan that protects your family as well as providing for PETA.
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The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, please consult an attorney. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes apply to federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results.