Rapper Coolio died without an estate plan.
Many celebrities die without preparing for the transfer of their wealth.
When this happens, it can leave their estates vulnerable to taxes and even greedy folks wanting to cash in on their wealth.
One recent celebrity who died without an estate plan was Artis Leon Ivey, Jr. who was known professionally as Rapper Coolio.
According to a recent MarketWatch article “What Coolio, Prince and Picasso didn’t have that you should,” the 59-year-old musician was found unresponsive on the floor at the home of a friend when he died.
His adult children reportedly carry his ashes in necklaces in remembrance of their father.
A recent probate case was filed by his former manager Jared Posey.
In this filing, Posey named the seven adult children as next of kin for Coolio.
Three children of Coolio are currently under the legal age to inherit.
The personal property, financial accounts, demand deposit accounts, royalties, and insurance
policies of Coolio are estimated to value more than $300,000.
This story of Coolio is not uncommon in America.
According to a 2021 Gallup pole, fewer than half of American adults have a last will and testament.
Dying without a last will and testament in place is known as dying intestate.
In this case, the state laws govern who inherits through the probate courts and who will serve as the guardian for minor children.
Without a last will and testament, the process can take many months or years to complete.
Additionally, the results may not be what you would choose for yourself.
A last will and testament is only part of a comprehensive estate plan.
People should also have a general durable power of attorney for financial decisions and an advance health care directive, with a durable power of attorney for health care decisions.
With these, you can designate agents to handle your finances and your medical decisions if you become incapacitated.
Designating and updating beneficiaries on assets like 401(k)s and life insurance polices is also important.
Beneficiary designations override the instructions in a last will and testament.
The same is true of “Transfer on Death” and “Pay on Death” accounts.
You will want to include a secondary beneficiary in case something happens to your first beneficiary.
Your documents should be reviewed with an experienced estate planning attorney after significant life changes or at least every few years and updated as necessary.
If you choose to cut out a spouse, you should know some states give a spouse the right to contest your wishes.
Although not legal documents, you can create a “letter of intent” to outline your wishes for your funeral.
You also should have your attorney help you avoid family feuds by appropriately providing for the distribution of sentimental tangible personal property like the family silver.
To avoid dying intestate like Coolio, work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a comprehensive estate plan to meet your needs.
Reference: MarketWatch (Dec. 31, 2022) “What Coolio, Prince and Picasso didn’t have that you should”