Publicity surrounding actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death has sparked awareness about the importance of creating an estate plan.
The death of Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has brought widespread media attention since his passing this past February. News outlets everywhere profiled the details surrounding his death and now many are talking about his estate plan.
Recent revelations about his wishes bring to light two very important reasons why everyone should create an estate plan or will.
The possibility of a sudden passing
Life is one big chance. And unless an individual suffers from a terminal illness, most people simply do not know when they will die. Hoffman was 46 years of age when he passed-an age considered young in our modern era. The life expectancy of an average American is roughly 80 years of age today.
Hoffman’s life is one of so many cut short. His death is a prime example of why people should never hold off on creating a will or estate plan simply because of age.
The executor’s wishes
More importantly, creating an estate plan allows individuals to plan ahead and make sure their wishes are carried out to their exact specifications. Details surrounding Hoffman’s estate plan is a case in point.
Hoffman was a successful celebrity. Earlier this year, the worth of his entire estate was estimated to be roughly $35 million dollars. He decided that he did not want to leave his entire estate to his children. He expressed on many occasions that he didn’t want his children to ever become “trust fund kids” when he passed.
In order to accomplish this, he refused countless suggestions by his accountant to set up trust accounts for his three children (ages 10, 7 and 5). Reports indicate that he was approached less than a year before his passing on the idea once again. But, according to his accountant, he was insistent on his wishes.
Hoffman left his entire estate to the mother of his children; the person he believed would make sure they were taken care of. He also named her the executor of his will. Without such explicit instructions, Hoffman’s estate would’ve likely been carried out differently and contrary to what the actor wanted, particularly since he wasn’t legally married to the mother of his three kids.
The importance of a will for everyone
The details surrounding Hoffman’s death and estate prove the importance of having a plan in place in the event of death. But simply because individuals don’t possess millions of dollars in assets like many celebrities, doesn’t mean they should refrain from implementing an estate plan.
Individuals who are young and old, rich and poor, likely have a wish or two they would want carried out in the event of their death. It could be particular funeral or burial instructions, plans regarding the inheritance of a family heirloom, or even the designated beneficiary of a beloved pet. Without these instructions, important components to a person’s life are left in the hands of someone else who simply may not know the exact wishes of the deceased.