It’s no secret that many of us have an aversion to writing a will and planning the handling of our estate once we’re gone. It’s unpleasant for us to consider these details because it forces us to deal with our own mortality. But we see over and over why it is so important that we do so. Consider the well-publicized situation that that took place after the death of the artist formerly known as Prince.

The rock icon unexpectedly passed away of a painkiller overdose when he was 57 years old. His estate at the time of his passing was valued at around $300 million. He had no will, no spouse and no children. His sister and his five half-siblings commenced a battle over the fortune he left behind. After taxes and legal fees, the estate’s value will likely be cut in half. More importantly, the end result, will almost positively not be what the artist formerly known as Prince would have wanted.

This type of situation can be avoided simply by taking steps to complete your estate planning:

  1. Take an Inventory: Consider your assets and liabilities and determine your net worth and what constitutes your estate. Are there life insurance policies in place? Are there other assets that will pass outside of probate? Do you have a family business? If so, your estate plan will need special provisions included.
  2. Determine Beneficiaries: Decide who your beneficiaries are and how you want assets distributed. Determine the manner in which beneficiaries will benefit – outright or through a trust? Will assets be passed on immediately or through a staggered distribution? Make sure you update beneficiaries on workplace retirement accounts and life insurance policies regularly.
  3. Choose an Executor: Determine who will manage the estate plan, pick an executor. The executor can be a family member, a corporate trustee, an attorney, etc. Who you choose will largely depend on the nature of the assets involved. Also consider choosing someone to have Power of Attorney, creating an Advance Healthcare Directive, and/or creating a Living Will. These can be vital if you become incapacitated or suffer from severe health issues at a later date.


After you do your homework and know what you want, get in touch with an experienced estate planning attorney at Aronow Law PC so we can make it happen while drawing up your will and estate plan documents.