Serving Clients Throughout Wisconsin & Illinois 



Why is Estate Planning So Important to Black Americans?

End of life planning or estate planning is something the black American community should tie into discussions with families.

smiling family

Many famous black entertainers have failed to plan properly. For example, Prince (who passed away on April 16, 2016), Aretha Franklin (August 16, 2018), director John Singleton (April 29, 2019) and many others did not have an efficient estate plan in place, when they died.

Black Enterprise’s recent article, “Black America Must Understand the Importance of Estate Planning” explains that dying without a will or a current will in place turned the mourning of these celebrities into a hysteria of fighting families. The article notes that the lack of a will is a social imbalance that affects many black Americans, regardless of socioeconomic standing and/or level of fame.

The idea of these big stars dying without a will seems strange in light of the fact that, after their deaths, their artistry continues to generate great income. One exception is Michael Jackson. From the day he died (June 25, 2009) to June 25, 2010, his estate—including music royalties, merchandising, licensing and more—brought in a whopping $1 billion in revenue.

However, Michael had a will in place which instructed that his financial returns should go to his children with his mother, Katherine, as the executor of his estate. In that case, there wasn’t any risk of confusion or family members trying to gain access to an estate with a seemingly endless amount of funds.

However, John Singleton, the Oscar-nominated director of such movies as Boyz N’ the Hood, Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, and the recent FX series, Snowfall, is the latest example of a wealthy person not having the right estate planning in place. Singleton’s estimated $35 million fortune is still being contested in court by his seven children—six of whom weren’t included in the 1993 will he created when his eldest daughter, Justice was born. He never updated his estate plan. According to this outdated will, Justice is the sole beneficiary of her father’s fortune. However, John’s mother, Sheila Ward, the executor of his estate, filed his will in probate court and listed his assets at only $3.8 million. Therefore, an additional $31 million of Singleton’s estate is unaccounted for.

Singleton is thought to have created a trust with other assets, like movie rights and other royalties, that doesn’t have to go through probate court. Therefore, inheritance issues involving those assets can be settled more efficiently. Otherwise, the seven siblings are preparing for an intense court fight that could be lengthy and expensive. If Singleton’s will had been updated, preferably after each child was born, his kids would’ve been financially protected and able to mourn their father in peace.

The lesson is there for everyday people who aren’t Oscar-nominated and Grammy-winning celebrities. Proper estate planning is important for everyone. If you’re interested in how to make sure your wishes are followed if you become incapacitated and when you pass, we invite you to request a consultation with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys.

ReferenceBlack Enterprise (July 28, 2019) “Black America Must Understand the Importance of Estate Planning”
Categories

Quality Counsel

Experience You Can Count On

What Sets Us Apart?

Our Philosophy
  • Love
  • Compassion
  • Integrity
  • Pursue Excellence
  • Teamwork
  • Innovative
  • Veteran Owned

The Stories That Matter

Read Our 5 Star Reviews
    He took the time to understand our goals and our family situation. He was friendly, thorough, and very knowledgeable.

    “What a great attorney! He explained everything to us in plain English, with no legal jargon. He took the time to understand our goals and our family situation. He was friendly, thorough, and very ...”

    - Mark
    Krause Donovan was wonderful...they asked all the right questions, were patient with our back and forth, and everything was wrapped up successfully.

    “My husband and I needed a will and turned to Krause Donovan for their help after the firm had invited us to a "what is estate planning all" about dinner/meeting. Having a will was something we knew we ...”

    - Kris
    Nelson was very understanding and put me at ease from the introduction. He thoroughly explained processes, answered all questions, took the time needed, and was detail-oriented.

    “I first met with Mr. Donovan this fall to discuss my estate planning. This is something a person dreads doing, but Nelson was very understanding and put me at ease from the introduction. He thoroughly ...”

    - Sherry
    They explain the process in terms that are easily understandable and always have your best interests in mind.

    “I highly recommend Kraus Donovan for all of your estate planning needs. They are thorough, knowledgeable, and very helpful. They explain the process in terms that are easily understandable and always ...”

    - Barbara
    He was able to guide us through this process with a thorough understanding of what decisions we needed to make to create clear directives for our family to follow if needed.

    “My husband and I went to Dan to help plan our estate. He and the folks at Krause Donovan were very professional, friendly, and efficient. Dan is fluent in what he practices. He was able to guide us ...”

    - Victoria
/

Take the Next Step

Schedule Your Consultation Today
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please enter your address.
  • Please enter your city.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter your zip code.
    This isn't a valid zip cide.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.