Although troubled during her life, Amy Winehouse got it right with her estate plan. Unlike many other celebrities like Anna Nicole Smith or Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse left a well thought out estate plan that appears to distribute her assets just how she wanted.
Amy Winehouse's heirs could have faced a significant battle had the singer not left such a carefully crafted estate plan. Since the British legal system tends to favor ex-spouses, Winehouse's estimated $16.4 million fortune could have ended up in the hands of her ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil, who is currently serving time in an English prison. Instead, Winehouse did the smart thing by amending her will after her divorce from Fielder-Civil. Now Winehouse's will is said to pass her considerable assets to her parents and brother.
In light of all the nasty estate battles that we hear about in the news, it's nice to hear of a celebrity who got it right. Had Winehouse failed to amend her will to omit her ex-husband, her ex-husband would have had a claim to her entire estate. That court battle could have gotten particularly messy since Fielder-Civil reportedly was the one who introduced Winehouse to drugs and the addiction she struggled with throughout her life. By making the smart decision to amend her will after her divorce, Winehouse might have saved her family from a long, public and expensive court battle.
A will can accomplish a number of things. In Winehouse's case, it ensured her deadbeat ex-husband didn't inherit her sizable estate. But you don't have to rich or famous to benefit from making a will. If you have minor children, you absolutely must have a will. A will is the ONLY document where you can name a guardian to raise your children if you pass away or become incapacitated. Without a will, a court will decide who will raise your minor children and the court's judgment may or may not reflect what you would have wanted. Also, a will serves the important function of determining who will be the personal representative responsible for administering a deceased person's estate. Picking the right person is critical as the personal representative is responsible for gathering your assets and distributing property to your beneficiaries. Having a competent personal representative can be the difference between an efficient and timely probate or one that's long, confusing and costly. To learn more about how you can benefit from a will, please read my article What Is A Will?.