In Memoriam … How Hollywood is Motivating People to Plan

Each year a newspaper or magazine reminds us of all the celebrities who passed away. I mention it not to put a damper on a New Year full of hope and promise. Really, it is a good way for me to illustrate estate planning trials and tribulations for clients and would-be clients. Take for example the loss of Aaron Carter in late 2022 at just age 34. The public way in which many celebrities like Carter lived helps us to hopefully learn how to make better choices for ourselves, especially when it comes to estate planning. With more than half the population without legacy planning documents in place it is always a real concern. Add to it the health scares of late and you understand the real sense of urgency.
Sometimes we feel like we have known many of these celebs all of our lives from their work — so many are truly household names. A main example is Prince, who despite seeming to have a healthy respect for planning and the law, did no estate planning (at least that we know of). Then there is Tom Petty who seemed very thoughtful in his plan, it is always interesting to note who does what when it comes to this tough, but critical subject.
Many TV shows shine a light on advanced healthcare directives as a main story line to emphasis the reality of what living without planning is really like. But life is not a TV show and without a plan in place, there may not be a happy ending if a judge has to make the choice for you or your family.
In 2017, a 24-minute documentary called Extremis won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject AND the prized Jury Award at Tribeca. It “tells the story of the wrenching emotions that accompany end-of-life decisions as doctors, patients and families in a hospital ICU face harrowing choices.” The film was so moving that after Rev. Gloria White-Hammond watched the film with a group of women from her predominantly black congregation at Boston’s Bethel AME Church one recent fall evening, she made a decision. Her goal as a pastor and former pediatrician is to motivate her congregation of 600 to be prepared. Read more about her mission HERE.
Whatever your motivation, I implore you to establish a plan, even if it is not perfect at first. If you have a plan, review it every year (you can see this POST to help guide you or you make an appointment with me as well). It is the best gift for the new year you can give yourself and your family and never forget we are here to help you.
You can Google your own list but among those we lost in 2022 are:
Sidney Poitier
Bob Saget
Meat Loaf
Louie Anderson
William Hurt
Taylor Hawkins
Gilbert Gottfried
Naomi Judd
Ray Liotta
Ivana Trump
Paul Sorvino
Olivia Newton-John
Anne Heche
Queen Elizabeth II
Loretta Lynn
Angela Lansbury
Leslie Jordan
Kirstie Alley
Christine McVie
Irene Cara