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New Jersey estate planning: Learning from the mistakes of others

Even with the best of intentions, New Jersey residents can sometimes make estate planning mistakes that may later hurt their families. Celebrities also make these same kinds of mistakes, but with much more dire consequences because of the amount of wealth that they hold often. These estate planning errors could serve as a cautionary tale for others who may be in the beginning stages of estate planning.

Sonny Bono is remembered as a musician, the ex-husband of Cher and a famous politician. He tragically lost his life in a skiing accident, but failed to leave behind a will before he died. A major surprise came when the man's love child sought and successfully won a portion of his estate. The lesson here, especially if there is a complicated family situation, is to ensure that a will is done as soon as possible.

Jimi Hendrix also failed to leave behind a will. His case was slightly different because he died at a very young age. However, because he didn't write a will, his massive estate went to his father instead of the brother he had shared a close relationship with. When his father died, the Hendrix estate passed out of his family hands and into the hands of the man's adopted daughter. Even at a young age, it is never too early to begin the process of estate planning.

Several other celebrities have passed away without the benefit of estate planning. Although it may seem like a young age is too early to need to consider a will, sometimes tragedy strikes when least expected. Beginning to make plans sooner is one way to ensure that a person's last wishes are adhered to. New Jersey residents may want to look to these stories as a cautionary tale and one that can help spur them on to look into estate planning sooner rather than later.

Source: Forbes, "What We Can Learn From Celebrity Estate Planning Gone Wrong," Erik Carter, Oct. 17, 2012

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