What We Can all Learn from David Bowie’s Estate Planning

Music stars are not generally known for their financial acumen or their estate planning. The families of music icons including Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain and Tupac Shakur have gone through nasty estate battles because these men failed to do adequate, if any, estate planning. The same cannot be said for music legend David Bowie, who recently died from liver cancer just days after his 69th birthday and the release of his final album.

Bowie admitted that he was not always wise in dealing with the considerable amount of money that he earned. In fact, in the 1970s and 1980s, he was reportedly near bankruptcy. However, that seems to have changed in the early 1990s after he married former supermodel Iman and moved to New York.

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Help Ensure Your Pets Are Cared For When You’re Gone

Too many pets end up in shelters every year because their guardians died unexpectedly, leaving them with no one to care for them. In many cases, people assume that their family or friends will take care of their animals after they’re gone or maybe they even agree to do so. However, for a number of reasons, that doesn’t always work out — again leaving animals dumped into shelters.

This is why pet trusts have grown in popularity. In fact, 40 states, including Pennsylvania, have pet trust laws in place. Many estate planning attorneys have experience helping their clients include language in their estate planning documents to specify whom you want to care for your animals after you’re gone and how much money you want to go to your designated pet caregiver to help with the cost of caring for them.

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The Importance of Health Care Directives and Living Wills

When many Pennsylvanians seek the services of an estate planning attorney, they intend only to get a will and possibly a trust in place. They want to designate who will get their assets when they are gone.

Those documents are a great start to your estate planning. However, experienced estate planning attorneys tell their clients that they also need a living will and an advance directive for health care declaration, known in some places as a healthcare power of attorney.

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Heirs Fight for Artwork They Say Was Stolen by Nazis

Most people who seek possession of a loved one’s assets after a death are dealing with homes, furniture, jewelry and other valuables. However, for two men, one of whom lives in Pennsylvania, the assets in question are paintings that they say were stolen by the Nazis.

The man who originally owned the artwork, valued at $5 million, had been a cabaret performer in Vienna, Austria. He died in 1941 in the Dachau concentration camp where he was a prisoner.

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Tips for Talking With Your Family About Your Estate

Many people dread having the estate planning talk with their family. However, this talk involves important topics like what you plan to leave them in your will, who will succeed you in the family business and who will inherit the family home.

The holiday season can actually be one of the best times to have these discussions. If the family is scattered throughout the country, this may be one of the rare occasions when you’re all together. The estate planning talk certainly shouldn’t be the focus of your holiday gathering, but it’s worth taking a bit of time out to take care of it so that everyone is on the same page.

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Things to Consider When Leaving Your Home to Your Children

For most of us, our home is the most valuable asset we have. It’s also often a highly sentimental one. That’s why you need to give it careful consideration when you do your estate planning. You want to make a smart financial decision about what will happen to it when you’re gone.

Many people leave their home to one or more of their children. That can necessitate some difficult conversations if you have multiple children who were counting on inheriting the family home. Whether you have one property to hand down or an additional vacation home, the bequeathing of all properties need to be done responsibly. Otherwise, there can be legal, tax and financial burdens for your children that you didn’t anticipate.

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Odom Incident Should be a Wake-Up Call Regarding Estate Documents

Many people throughout Pennsylvania and throughout the country have been watching the latest in the saga of former National Football League player Lamar Odom and his estranged wife, Khloe Kardashian. Odom was initially hospitalized and in a coma after being found unconscious in a brothel in Nevada.

The two had already signed divorce papers. However, because of a backlog in the California courts, the divorce had not yet been finalized.

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Robin Williams’ Family Settles Estate Dispute

It was a sad coda to the already-tragic suicide of Robin Williams. The comedian and Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams died last year at 63. Then his widow and his three children, whose mothers had previously been married to Williams, started battling in court over his estate.

Susan Williams, who was married to the beloved performer when he killed himself in Aug. 2014, filed a petition last December in a San Francisco court asking that her late husband’s possessions that were in the couple’s home at the time of his death not be included in his children’s inheritance. She also claimed that some of those items were taken from the home without her permission.

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