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An Unfortunate Lesson in Estate Planning from David Cassidy

We may have learned an unfortunate lesson in estate planning from David Cassidy this week.  His death has brought several life lessons to light, and one of them is a reminder to update your estate plan and trust documents every two to three years.  Things change.

David Cassidy’s daughter Katie was expressly excluded from a will Mr. Cassidy created over thirteen years ago.  The will evidently included the words “It is my specific intent not to provide any benefits hereunder to Katherine Evelyn Cassidy.”  When Mr. Cassidy created the will in 2004 the father and daughter were in the midst of an ongoing rocky relationship.  His intentions were clear.  Even as late as February of this year Mr. Cassidy expressed the fact that while he had been her biological father he wasn’t her father, and didn’t raise her.  “Katie has a completely different life.”  Still he acknowledged how proud of her he had become and he commented on her talent and the woman she had become at 30.

Was there a change of heart?  Katie rushed to his side in the final days and was with him as he passed.  She shared his last words “So much wasted time.”

Mr. Cassidy’s son Beau is the sole beneficiary to the $150,000 in assets in Mr. Cassidy’s estate.  Without a trust, the will will have to pass through probate which will take a significant bite out of the available assets, as well as taxes and other fees.  It may very well tie up these assets for more than a year.  A simple trust for a few thousand dollars may have saved tens of thousands of dollars in this instance, and immediately passed the assets to his beneficiaries upon his passing.  The will was never updated.

Allen Barron’s estate planning and trust services are supported by our integrated tax, legal, accounting and business advisory teams.   We provide legal advice and support to executors of an estate and trustees.  If you are a business owner and need assistance with succession planning, have an existing trust or estate plan which has not been reviewed in the past few years or have yet to begin estate planning we invite you to contact us or call 866-631-3470 for a free consultation.

We all can learn an unfortunate lesson in estate planning from David Cassidy – our passing often comes without warning and is most often upon us too quickly to make changes in the documents which manage our intentions regarding our fruits in this life.