Roger DeChristopherWeekly Market and Economic Outlook
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How can Genius Be so Stupid!
While we are all saddened on the loss of Rock Icon Prince, a musician who’s music made such an impact on so many lives, who entertained us for the latter part of 30+ years. His estate is rumored to be worth around 300 million dollars, and today his sister told the world that he died without a will. Without a will? I cannot believe with all the legal battles he has been involved in in the past with his record label and millions of dollars he spent in legal fees he died intestate. What the hell was he thinking? I cannot believe his legal team did not insist he protect his fortune for whoever he wanted to leave his fortune to. And Prince himself, a songwriting genius and multi talented musician, how could he have been so stupid. Yes Stupid!

So what happens now to his assets? They will go to Probate Court. A judge will appoint an administrator and lawyers will rack up millions of dollars in legal fees. That’s what they do best! It’s not that I don’t like lawyers they are a necessary evil.

Back to lawyers later, anyway all of us regardless of our net worth need to protect our assets while we are alive, whether we are worth a thousand dollars or ten million, why let the court decide who gets what. The estate tax exemption for 2016 is $5,450,000. That means if all your assets totaled up you home, cash, cars investments and so on are below $5,450,000 your estate passes tax free to your heirs, if your married and your estate is over that amount you file form IRS form 706 and when your spouse passes away you can pass $10,900,000 estate tax free. For most of us we should be so lucky.

But regardless one needs to protect one’s self, a last will and testament will direct your assets to your heirs, but it must be probated in which it becomes a matter of public record so anyone can see it, not good in my opinion. A trust either revocable or irrevocable is a private document which remains only to be seen by the executor and the beneficiaries, and can be distributed much quicker without the courts involved.

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