Fans in California and around the world mourned the loss of country music great Glen Campbell following his courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease. A battle of another kind, however, has arisen after his death. Several of his older children have filed a lawsuit, requesting that the court recognize them as rightful heirs to a portion of their father's estate.
California estate owners and future beneficiaries may want to pay close attention to a particular probate battle as it unfolds in court. The situation involves an adult child of the now-deceased former CEO of Bendix Corporation, William M. Agee, who is fighting her stepmother over her father's estate. The stepmother, Mary Cunningham Agee, claims her husband was no longer in his right mind when he reportedly changed his estate plan weeks before his death to give his daughter power of attorney.
It's understandable that California business owners and others who worked long and hard to get their companies off the ground are concerned about the future -- namely, how to protect the legacies they've worked so hard to build. Many prudent business owners also think ahead, knowing there will come a time when they are deceased or no longer able to head their companies due to mental or physical decline. Executing a solid business succession plan ahead of time and working it into an estate plan may be the best means for protecting assets and ensuring the continuation of a business.
The music and entertainment world in California and around the globe was rocked to its core when several pop superstars suffered untimely deaths. Prince, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston were central figures in the pop music industry for most of their careers. In addition to remembering them for the international impact they made with their musical talents, many people now mention their names when discussing major estate planning errors to avoid.
There are many family-run businesses in California and throughout the nation. Astute business owners understand the importance of thorough estate planning, especially when it comes to executing business succession plans. This can be a tricky process because many family-run businesses include several adult children who may not agree on or be capable of managing the company in question.
Sometimes, California estate owners die and their estates are administered with no obstacles or problems arising throughout the process. Most often, if this is the case, it's because the estate owners took the time to carefully execute solid plans that included wills, powers of attorney and other key documents that can help prevent stress and avoid confusion down the line when the time comes for their assets to be distributed. Those who die with no final will and testament in place automatically cause their estates to become intestate, meaning their loved ones will have to sit back and wait as the probate court determines how assets (and liabilities) should be dispersed.
If you dislike talking about the fact that you're going to die someday, you are no different than many other California residents and others throughout the nation. Some people avoid discussions about their own mortality as much as possible. This hesitation often leads to procrastination toward or all-out avoidance of the estate planning process.
A woman in another state is the widow of a 9/11 victim. At the time of the terrorist attacks in 2001, she had three young children and recently shared her memories and the many lessons she learned in the aftermath of the national tragedy. A lesson she remembers most has to do with estate planning and, in particular, wills. It applies just as much to California residents as it does to others across the country.
Never underestimate the power of procrastination. Indeed, you needn't look any further than the un-mowed lawn, the incomplete thank-you notes, the unfinished novel and even the lackluster estate planning efforts for evidence of this phenomenon.