Celebrity Estate Lessons – David Bowie

David Bowie

Compared to some of our past celebrities, David Bowie didn't do a bad job with his estate plan. He provided for his wife and children, even taking into account what would happen when his wife died.

However, there are some things he could have done to better protect his children down the road.

One problem with just having a Will is that the documents can be made public. Once a Will goes into probate it's eligible for a Freedom of Information Act request, which means anyone could have access to it. This is likely not a big concern for most of us, but if it is something you worry about, a Will might not be the way to go.

The bigger issue is that of taxes. When assets are left outright to a beneficiary, they may be subject to taxes. Most of the money left to his wife should pass tax free, but his Will contained a provision that the remainder of this money will pass to his children upon his widow’s death. At that point, the money could be subject to taxes.

There are ways to avoid at least some of these taxes, such as setting up Trusts for the people you want to leave money to, instead of leaving the money outright.

I know a Trust can sound scary, or like something only crazy rich people have, but you'd be surprised. Even people with more moderate assets can find that a Trust is the right choice for them. If you're not sure if it's right for you, look no further. We'd be happy to advise you about your options.