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AOL Profiles Estate Planning Lessons from Hollywood

In a recent article for AOL News, Sheree Curry presented some of the more important lessons to be learned from celebrity estate plans - or a lack thereof. We've covered the ups and downs of some of these estates on the blog. Stories like Dennis Hopper's, while obviously not parallel to all experiences, highlight important points that are important to everyone.

Curry presents Hopper's case as an example of estate planning done too late to avoid conflict. The case is complicated by the fact that, shortly before his death, Hopper began proceedings to divorce his then-wife and exclude her from his estate plan.

Literally pursuing this from his deathbed, Hopper passed before the divorce was finalized.

On the other hand, she points out, Ray Charles gathered all of his children - most by different mothers - together and laid out his estate plans. By doing this, he was able ensure that there would be no surprises or misplaced expectations. Brittany Murphy, too, prepared a comprehensive and explicit will before her tragic passing at the age of 31.

Outside of the argument for comprehensive estate planning, Murphy's case is one that also shows the importance of having an estate plan set at an early age. Most will never need it, but those few who do will ease the strain put on their family by a considerable amount.

The most important takeaways from the article are the absolute necessity for openness and preparedness. Finding the right attorney to help you plan your estate and working with him or her to create something that comprehensively addresses your situation is extremely important.

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