Public deaths show different estate planning strategies

Confronting the inevitability of one's demise is not an easy task, which is why many people avoid doing it, including South Carolina residents. This is also demonstrated by the fact that over half of adults across the country do not have a will and have never spoken to their family members about their wishes for the way they want to end their life and how they want their last rites performed. The importance of estate planning and the consequences of the lack of an estate plan are demonstrated by the recent deaths of two highly public figures.

Senator John McCain faced his impending death straight on soon after he was diagnosed with glioblastoma. He spoke early on to those he wanted to include in his funeral and who he wanted to eulogize him. Additionally, he made the decision to end his treatment himself and passed away the way he wanted to in the place he wanted to. Statistics show that even though 80 percent of Americans want to die in their homes, only 20 percent actually do because the remaining people have not shared their wishes with their family members. As a result, their wishes are not being fulfilled and family members are left making important and difficult decisions in an emotionally difficult time.

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, on the other hand, left no directions for her family members. She was 76 and had pancreatic cancer, but still did not want to talk about her funeral. Additionally, she died without a will, leaving her family members in emotional and financial turmoil. Even though she understood the need for creating an estate plan, it was just something she never got around to doing.

Though talking about death is frightening and easier to put off than doing, having this talk often and early can be beneficial for everyone involved. Without an estate plan in place, assets can end up tangled in court and stuck in family disputes for years on end. An experienced attorney can help individuals work their way through the daunting task.

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