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Some say these superstars made big estate planning mistakes

Pop music stars in Illinois and throughout the world went into mourning when headlines announced the deaths of Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Prince. Following each performer's passing, all of which were unexpected and untimely, stories began to surface regarding their estate planning practices, or lack thereof. Since then, several reports have suggested that each of these superstars made major blunders where their estates were concerned.

Various heirs may have been able to avoid substantial taxes and fees had their benefactors implemented solid estate plans. As it stands, the exact value of Jackson's estate has still not been determined in tax court. An estimate lists it in excess of $1 billion.

Unlike Jackson, who did execute a final will, Prince left nothing in writing and had no children or other obvious heir, such as a spouse. Nearly 50 people have come forward since he died, claiming they should have rights to his assets. The situation involving Houston is a bit more complicated.

Houston's final instructions stipulated that inheritance was to be given to her daughter via installments. If her daughter were ever to become deceased, any remaining inheritance was to go to Houston's mother and brothers. The problem is, her daughter suffered an untimely death and had not executed an estate plan, which leaves the 10 percent inheritance she already collected up for grabs. Estate planning does not have to be a complicated process and many Illinois residents can perhaps avoid these types of problems by seeking guidance and assistance from experienced estate planning attorneys.

Source:, "Iconic Estate Flops: What Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Prince Did Wrong", Justin Brimmer, Dec. 11. 2017

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