Estate Planning: Things Prince (And You) Should Have Done

When Prince died, his estate was left in a state of the unknown. He didn't plan for his death to happen so soon, and there was no indication of who would be left his wealth and properties. Estate planning is a must, and here's everything he should and done and what you should do too.

Make a List of Assets

The first thing is to know what you have to leave behind. If you don't know what you have, how can you make sure you have everything covered in your will? Think about all the assets and belongings you have. This isn't just about property or investments. Think about anything of value, even the contents of your home, to make sure the people you love get the items that mean the most to them.

You'll also need to make a list of all the people you want to leave things to. This isn't just about children and grandchildren but about close friends who cared for you in the darkest times and charities you want to support.

Keep Your Beneficiaries Up to Date

Regardless of your last will and testament, you need to make sure your list of beneficiaries is kept up to date. Life insurance companies and courts will look at the beneficiaries first, whether they are listed in your will or not. The best times to look at the beneficiaries are when you marry, divorce, or have children.

You can set up trusts as beneficiaries. Make sure you get appropriate financial advice on this to make sure you get the right type of trust for your and your beneficiaries' needs.

Update Your Will

You may have made a will when you first built your estate, but your circumstances have likely changed since then. As you gain and lose assets, you need to make sure they are accounted for in your will.

Get It Done Officially

There are do-it-yourself kits out there, but there are high risks to this. Oversights and spelling mistakes can make these types of wills invalid. Family members may also contest these wills if there is an older version. Get your will written officially. While it doesn't stop all issues, it will offer your heirs extra protection in court.

Don't be like Prince—and many other celebrities—by forgetting about estate planning. Take the steps to collect a list of everything in your estate and have paperwork documenting where you want it all to go. For more advice in planning your estate, work with an attorney like James M Snow.