The voice behind the famous song I Will Always Love You, was found dead of unknown causes in the bathtub of her hotel room just hours before the Grammy Awards. The untimely death of the 48-year old singer/actress comes after a decade of personal troubles including drug and alcohol addiction as well as the end of her highly publicized relationship with Bobby Brown. Just hours after her death, sales of anything “Whitney Houston” started to soar. The ultimate value of her estate has yet to be determined; however, it is clear that, as has been the case with other artists, her death may cause her popularity, and therefore her wealth, to increase substantially. The death of the once darling of both the screen and the radio reminds us all of how important it is to create an estate plan.
People often make the mistake of thinking that creating an estate plan is not necessary unless you have a substantial estate at the time. What many people don’t realize, however, is that the value of your estate can soar at any time. Unfortunately, as the untimely death of Houston reminds us, death can also strike at any time. The seed you plant today, whether it is an investment, life insurance, law suit or fledgling business, could be worth a small fortune tomorrow. Those “seeds” will become part of your estate upon your death. Even if they are not worth a substantial amount at the time of your death, they may continue to grow after your death. Deciding who will receive those assets, therefore, becomes important. The only way to ensure that your assets will be handled in the manner you intend is to create a comprehensive estate plan today.