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Estate planning: Hot topic after Kobe Bryant's death

NBA fans, coaches, players and families in Illinois and around the globe recently mourned the tragic death of basketball icon Kobe Bryant, who was traveling with his daughter and several others when their helicopter crashed, leaving no survivors on board. Since the tragedy, news headlines have been filled with titles about Bryant's family, including speculation about estate planning. The question of whether the former basketball star had signed a last will and testament, so far, remains unclear.

Bryant was known as being a person who paid attention to detail and diligently kept his personal finances and other important issues in order. This has prompted many people to assume he had a last will and testament in place before he died. Others, however, have noted that Bryant's African-American heritage may place him in a group that is reportedly notorious for not executing estate plans.

One estate planning professional recently explained that data shows African-American people are 50% less likely to sign wills before they die than people of other races. It is definitely not an issue that is solely present in the African-American community, however. In fact, current estimates show that as many as six out of 10 adults in the United States do not have estate plans in place, regardless of race.

In recent years, estate planning has been a central topic of discussion after the deaths of several famous people, such as Michael Jackson, who apparently had made plans, and others, such as Prince, who did not. Being that famous singers and athletes often have significant assets (Bryant's estate is estimated to be worth approximately $600 million) it is understandable that wills, trusts and other estate issues are a central focus of discussion upon their deaths. Of course, estate planning issues affect nearly everyone. In Illinois, an experienced attorney can provide much-needed guidance and support regarding these important concerns.

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