Prince left a mess. Do you have the same problem?

Prince left a mess. Do you have the same problem?

Prince, Tupac Shakur, and Kurt Cobain left their vision and their life work in the hands of…well..whoever was assigned by the court after they died. Certainly not a person chosen by them to handle their legacy.

Your blogs, selfies, Facebook posts, and videos probably don’t have the depth and breadth of what these artists left behind, but maybe you should also think about what people see and hear from you after you’re gone.

Prince’s situation might be the saddest of the three artists. During his lifetime he meticulously managed his image and his music, carefully directing, with legal action if necessary, the purity of his vision. But he left no provisions for how to curate his legacy to best guide his vision beyond his death.

“I don’t think about gone,” Prince once said. It’s a sentiment so many of us share until we reach the age when gone can be clearly seen, not so far in the distance. But even when gone doesn’t appear to be in sight, it can come suddenly, as it did for Prince.

By refusing to think of it, Prince abdicated his ability to define his image, his musical legacy, and his carefully constructed image of who he was as an artist and as a person.

In 1998, Prince told Guitar World, “…what they did with that Beatles song [‘Free As a Bird’], manipulating John Lennon’s voice to have him singing from across the grave… that’ll never happen to me. To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control.”

Would Prince have approved of Justin Timberlake’s ‘duet’ with his image at the 2018 Superbowl? It seems unlikely.

His beloved home and recording complex, Paisley Park, is now half museum and half amusement park with a steady flow of tourists always present. Would Prince have wanted this? Maybe. Maybe not. His wishes aren’t known so Paisley Park operates according to the wishes of someone else. Someone he didn’t select and didn’t direct.

Prince eschewed commercialism, but now Prince related merchandise is sold at a ballpark. Music he chose not to release has been lifted from his music vaults and exposed to everyone. Prince, according to his ex-wife, was a “fierce philanthropist”. It’s probably fair to guess that nothing will be left for charitable causes once the battles over his estate by his heirs, whoever those turn out to be, have been hashed out by the lawyers who, of course, will take their own substantial portion.

Your estate isn’t any less valuable to your heirs than the huge and complicated estates left behind by wealthy celebrities is to their heirs. And your legacy, although it might be mostly Facebook, blogs, videos, and Pinterest rather than master recordings and the ephemera of celebrity is important to you and will be important to those you leave behind. If you care, if you want people to remember who you really were after you’re gone, make sure your family can find not just your documents and accounts but also the digital wake of videos, blogs, posted thoughts, and selfies you’ve created during your own journey.

If you want to preserve your own thoughts and wishes and dreams, as well as the assets you will leave behind, you must be sure those wishes will reach your survivors. Our service, AfterVault.com, is the perfect service for making sure those wishes are known. Your wishes are organized and kept securely online. If something happens to you, AfterVault.com alerts your family or friends and tells them how to get the information in your online vault, organized and in one simple step.

Living Trusts vs. Wills – What’s The Difference?

Living Trusts vs. Wills – What’s The Difference?

Do you know the difference between a will and a trust?

You’ve probably heard these terms but do you know what sets them apart and whether you need to have both? As we mentioned before, your will is a part of your estate plan. The same can be said for the trust, but each of them serve different purposes.

What Is a Will?
A will can be defined as a document in which you state your wishes and decide how your property will be distributed after you die.  The will is revocable and you are able to alter it at any time prior to your death. It’s always very important to review your will periodically and especially in the event of a major life event, such as marriage or divorce.

What Is a Living Trust?
Unlike a will, a trust or living trust not only specifies what’s to be done with your property after your death but how it should be dealt with during your lifetime as well. You’re able to appoint a trustee and, in the case of disability or illness, this person will be able to manage your property.

Perhaps the most important attribute of living trusts is that your estate will usually not need to go through probate. A caveat is that you must be careful to have everything accounted for in the trust or that portion of the estate will still require probate. Be sure to look into using a ‘pour-over’ will to direct any external assets into the trust in the event of your death.

What is the difference?
The easiest way to explain the difference is to show you what it is included in each. We found a great comparison from Nolo.

Do you need only one or both?
Each and every case should be looked at individually hence the best advice is to discuss it with your estate planning attorney.

By establishing a trust you can avoid probate. You can learn more about probate here. Having a trust is also a good idea when you have minor children because a trust allows you to establish provisions specifying when a child will be entitled to any assets held in trust.

You can set up a trust with tax planning provisions if your estate exceeds the current estate tax threshold. You can find your state`s current estate tax here.

Whether you have a will, a trust, or both, don`t forget that you can safely store them in AfterVault.com so your family can find them when they most need your vital information.

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers. Please talk to your lawyer if you have any questions or doubts about your situation.

Less Than 25% Of Australians Have An Up-To-Date Will

Less Than 25% Of Australians Have An Up-To-Date Will

Not long ago we talked about the fact that only 42 percent of U.S. adults currently have estate planning documents such as a will or living trust.. The situation in Australia is quite similar with only 55% of adults having a will.

In this article we’d like to highlight some of the most important findings from a report prepared by Charles Sturt University and The University of Adelaide called “Estate Planning in Australia or: it will never happen to me”. You can find the full report here.

Do you have a current up-to-date will?
44.90% of the respondents do not have a will. Of the other 55% that do have one, only 24% have an up-to-date will. As discussed in one of our previous articles having an outdated will is one of the top estate planning mistakes.

Have you discussed your will?
It’s a positive sign that almost everyone has discussed their will with spouse, partner or  family, considering the difficulty of this conversation.

Have you created a pre-paid funeral plan?
Only 13.70% have created a pre-paid funeral plan. This low number might be due to the fact people don’t realize that the funeral could cost to your family up to $20,000.

Do you have Life Insurance?
It’s interesting to note that, according to the report, “individuals in a relationship, with children, and a higher disposable income are more likely to have life insurance.” If you’re one of the 36% that have a life insurance or are planning to have one we recommend to make sure your family will be able to find your life insurance information.  This advice is based on our previous research where we found that “millions of families (yes, millions!) have lost billions of dollars”.

Online Assets
Even though the table below shows that almost everyone possesses online assets, only 28% know what will happen to their online assets in the event of incapacitation or death. If you are among the other 72% we advise you to take care of your online assets. You can download our free “Digital Estate Planning Checklist”  from here.

 

Have you prepared a Formal Succession plan?
As we have noted in one of our articles, estate planning is even more essential for business owners. In fact, your business insurance might even require that you have some sort of plan in place to ensure that your business can continue even if you are gone. And by putting your affairs in order you can best protect both your family and your business.

According to the research paper less than 26% of business owners have prepared a succession plan.

 

 

We hope this article was helpful!

And don`t forget that you can safely store all of your estate planning documents in AfterVault.com so your family can find them when they most need your vital information.

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers. Please talk to your lawyer if you have any questions or doubts about your situation.

Probate – What You Need To Know

Probate – What You Need To Know

Estate planning is a complex matter with lots of uncommon and hard to grasp words. An example is the word ‘probate’. Do you know what it is, how long it takes, and if you can avoid it? In this article we’ll share our knowledge on this topic.

What is probate?
Simply put, probate is the process where the will of a deceased is proven in a court of law and accepted as a valid document. This is the first necessary step of administering the estate of a deceased person. When the will is proven as valid, the executor receives the letter of probate from the court.

Do you need to go through probate if there is a will?
Most wills will be subject to probate. Almost the only cases when probate is not needed is when there are no significant assets in the estate or those asset have already been transferred, for example in a trust. For this reason, we strongly recommend seeing if a living trust is a good option for you.

How long does probate take?
The process can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete. The factors that will influence the time period are the size of the estate and if there are any assets that require special attention.   

What types of assets are subject to probate?
The assets subject to probate are those that are owned solely in the name of the deceased person, such as real estate or vehicles.  Retirement accounts, life insurance proceeds, property held in a living trust, or funds in a payable-on-death (POD) bank account are not subject to a probate.

How do you avoid probate?
Yes, it is possible to avoid probate and there are four ways to transfer your property without going through the process. The ways are:

– Joint Property Ownership
– Death Beneficiaries
– Revocable Living Trusts
– Gifts

Additional useful resource:
Finally to make sure you have a better understanding about the probate process, here’s a great infographic:

Don`t forget to safely store all of your estate planning documents in AfterVault.com so your family can find them when they most need your vital information.

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers. Please talk to your lawyer if you have any questions or doubts about your situation.