Ernie Banks’ caregiver and agent, Regina Rice, is the sole beneficiary of his last Will. His family is surprised by the new Will signed recently by the 83 year old baseball legend. Banks’ sons and estranged wife plan to contest the Will in Cook county probate. They will seek to establish that Ernie Banks either lacked capacity to sign the Will or that Regina Rice unduly influenced him to sign the new Will. There is even a bitter dispute about Ernie Banks’ remains.
Anytime a famous person dies it reminds people of the importance of sound estate planning. Comedian/actor Robin Williams used a Living Trust estate plan to protect the inheritance passing to his three children from a prior marriage. The Trustee for the children can immediately provide for their needs but the younger children will not have full control over the inheritance until they are older. Williams’ attorney used a staggered withdrawal right so that at age 21, they can take 1/3 of the trust assets, at age 25, 1/2 of the trust and then at age 30, the children have complete control.The idea is if at age 21 the child withdraws 1/3 and invests it poorly or spends it unwisely, they get another bite at the apple with 2/3 still in trust as they grow older and hopefully more mature.
There are many decisions to make in an estate plan. Everyone, from legendary athletes to actors faces estate planning choices at some point. Today’s Estate Planning War Chest advice: Your family needs a well thought out estate plan just like the rich and famous.