Estate planning is something that is often pushed off for a number of years. Most people think that they have time to perform estate planning and that updating estates can happen at a later date. If you need any lessons in why estate planning is important and how your plans affect those who you leave behind, you can learn from the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Here are three lessons that everyone can take from her estate planning and how it worked out.
Non-family can easily be provided for
Diana left items for several non-family members in her will, with the highest payee being her butler who received around 50,000 pounds sterling. Diana's butler has been long regarded as one of her good friends and closest confidants. Her leaving money to her butler may not have been precedented for a royal family member, but it shows that you can leave money for a non-family member and have it honored. If you have close friends, do not forget to add them to your will and make the terms and amounts that you plan to bequeath to them very explicit.
The heirs can feel free to trade
Prince William and Kate Middleton had one of the most media covered engagements to date. Prince William proposed with the ring that his mother famously received from Prince Charles during their engagement. Prince William made a deal with his brother to get the ring because technically the ring was left to his brother, Prince Harry. Harry has said that as he and William got older, they decided the one who proposed first would take the ring. It is likely that in exchange, Prince Harry has taken possession of his mother's acclaimed wedding dress. Be aware that if you have heirs, they may be interested in trading off some of your goods. Make sure that the terms allow for trading equally, as they may see fit.
People get left out due to left out language
Princess Diana had 17 godchildren to whom she left a total of one-quarter of her estate. The executors of Diana's will, her mother and her sister, took the will to court to challenge this particular offer and were granted the change by the judge due to proper language being left out. Instead of getting a quarter of her belongings, Diana's godchildren had to settle for one small memento of the will executors' choosing that was not worth much in cash. Be sure to always have a will looked over by a professional so that it is airtight if you want to make sure no one can change your particular wishes.
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