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Avoiding mistakes made by Prince and Aretha Franklin

Colorado residents and other music fans likely still enjoy the music of Prince and Aretha Franklin even after their deaths. However, they could learn a lesson in estate planning based on the mistakes that the pair made. Neither had a will when they died, and the lack of a will or trust can lead to family disputes or being unable to provide for a child with special needs.

According to a study by Caring.com, only 40 percent of adults in the United States have a will. The most common reason cited was simply not having found the time to do so. It is important to note that a will or other estate plan documents can be useful even for those who aren't millionaires. For instance, putting assets in a trust may help to avoid probate and avoid making the details of an estate plan public knowledge.

Having an estate plan may also help to minimize estate and federal taxes owed at death. Aretha Franklin was said to be worth $80 million when she died, which means that the IRS would collect $27.5 million. Estates are taxed at a 40 percent rate on anything over $11.18 million. Those who have a will or trust created may spend anywhere from $100 to more than $1,000 depending on its complexity.

Taking time for estate planning may help a person save money and make it more likely that his or her wishes are fulfilled. An attorney may help in creating or reviewing a plan. Ideally, estate plans will be reviewed every couple of years or whenever a major life event takes place. These events include marriage, divorce or death. It may also be important to consider creating a will or trust when an individual becomes a parent.

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