Your reaction to this subject line might be, “Oh no, not another Anna Nicole Smith story.” You might also be thinking, “Great, maybe the inside story!” Whatever your reaction, you should be wondering if any of what happened in her life and death could happen to your family. Simply put, have you taken the steps necessary to prevent such drama and turmoil for your loved ones?
In the short time since Ms. Smith’s passing, numerous clients, colleagues and friends have asked me for my opinion of the ensuing litigation. I have not been intimately involved in the case, and know only what I read in the media. One thing I do know is that a lot of the controversy could have been prevented with sound, up to date estate planning solutions.
The most shocking detail to me is that Anna Nicole disinherited her infant daughter, Danielynn. In her July, 2001 Will, Anna Nicole intentionally omitted all future born children and any descendants other than her son, Daniel. Of course, we know now that Daniel predeceased Anna Nicole, and she in fact did have another child.
A simple amendment to her Will could have prevented this outcome. Estate planning solutions are meant to be reviewed periodically. We recommend revisiting planning solutions whenever there is a family birth, marriage, death, or other significant life event – move, new job, divorce. Alternatively, every 2-3 years is a good time frame.
I have come to realize that this is so critical, that we will be taking the initiative for our clients and reaching out to them to conduct this periodic review. We would be doing our clients a disservice if we allowed ourselves to become mere document producers. Maintaining communication and relationship with our clients is integral to providing great legal and customer service.
In the meantime, I hope you will contact our office if you have any legal questions or issues. We maintain relationships with a great network of attorneys and other professionals. We would be pleased to provide you with the solution to any puzzle you need to unravel.