Shock waves were felt throughout the entertainment industry recently when news of the death of singer Amy Winehouse was circulated. The mercurial Ms. Winehouse was a superstar, winner of no less than five Grammy awards and someone who has been credited with single-handedly boosting the British music scene while paving the way for other female performers.
While it is true that Winehouse sometimes got more attention for her public struggles with alcohol and drug abuse than she did for her music, she was a huge talent and should be remembered as such.
It is well documented that some wealthy entertainers who passed away before their time did not engage in effective estate planning. People like Michael Jackson and Anna Nicole Smith come to mind in this regard. However, surprising as it may be to some people, Amy Winehouse did indeed have a very solid estate plan in place.
Her $16.4 million legacy is going to her parents and her brother. Had she not engaged in careful planning she would have been running the risk of having British succession law hold sway, and this could have resulted in her ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil inheriting her fortune.
While the Amy Winehouse case is unique because she was an especially wealthy individual who may have consciously been aware of the fact her lifestyle could lead to an early death, estate planning is important for young people as well as old. You never know what the future holds, and people pass away before their time every day.
You have to ask yourself where your family would be if your income was to suddenly vanish and who would care for your children if you and your spouse were to pass away in an accident.
Clearly, estate planning is not something that should be ignored. If you do not have an estate plan in place you may want to be proactive and arrange for a consultation with an estate planning attorney sooner rather than later.