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Some celebrities have made costly estate planning mistakes

The estates of some of the rich and famous can go far in teaching a lesson in how not to plan for one's death. When it comes to estate planning, Florida residents can learn a lot when looking at the estates of celebrities like Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin. None of them had all-encompassing estate plans and left their heirs losing out on millions of dollars because of it.

One of the primary lessons learned from these estates is that assets don't have to have an exact evaluation, but there should at least be an estimation of their value. This is especially true if the deceased had special circumstances connected to some of these assets like patents, valuable art pieces or expensive antiques. At least Michael Jackson had two well-known attorneys acting as executors of his estate and not someone without the legal acumen to administer the estate.

As for Prince -- he died intestate, or without a will. That has caused (and continues to cause) a lot of problems with people crawling out of the woodwork claiming to be long lost relatives and claiming to have some stake in his estate. With no will, he gave up the opportunity to name an executor to deal with all the issues. Whitney Houston left everything to her daughter, Bobbi Christina, in increments, but she passed away as well; but Houston had stipulated her assets should go to her brother and mother if that occurred. Unfortunately, Bobbi Christina didn't have a will of her own, so her father, Bobby Brown stands to inherit her estate, leaving Houston's mother and brothers with nothing.

Comprehensive estate planning is no easy feat. Florida residents can look to these celebrities to get a handle on what not to do. A lawyer will be able to help his or her clients on what should be included in an estate plan, according to his or her unique circumstances. Leaving loose ends in an estate plan will only spell grief for beneficiaries. 

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