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Caring For Generations

Celebrity Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid – Conflicting Directions

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2015 | Estate Planning

 We’re devoting several of our Hoosier Estate Planning blogs this month to estate planning mistakes made by celebrities.  We hope our clients learn from these stories and avoid making those same mistakes.
In his will, famous baseball player Ted Williams said he wished to be cremated. But his children from a second marriage produced a note written by Williams saying his wished to be put in biostatis (“frozen”) after his death. Williams’ eldest daughter fought to have the body unfrozen and cremated, but gave up the fight when she ran out of money.

The lesson here:  If you change your mind about your burial wishes, do two things: 

1. Change your will, either by adding a codicil to the original will, or having a new will created; or
2. Create a special document with instructions about:

  •  Whether you want a funeral of memorial service and if so, where it should be held
  •  Whether you want to be cremated
  • Where you want to be buried or where you would like your ashes stored, distributed, or disposed of.

As the attorneys at Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates have often seen, by the time a will or trust is located and read, family members may have gone ahead and made decisions about the disposition of remains and about the service.  Even when the directions are not conflicting, too often, they are simply not found in time!

In contrast to the case of Ted Williams, it’s interesting to note that singer Janis Joplin updated her will with instructions for $2,500 to be set aside for a party in her honor.

Where there’s a will – and where there are documents with instructions – there’s a way to make sure your funeral wishes are carried out. 

– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates blog team