Inheritance lessons to learn from Prince and a princess

By Lenore Rice

When it comes to making a Will and making plans to pass on your estate, there are no more obvious high-profile examples to look at than the cases of Prince and Carrie Fisher, who most famously played the role of Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies.

The musician and actress both passed away recently, and their two very different approaches to estate planning typify what our Estate planning specialists see on a weekly basis. Carrie Fisher left behind an estate valued at approximately £20.4million, but had in her lifetime made plans for how her assets should be bequeathed. She created a trust which names her daughter as the beneficiary.

There are a number of different kinds of trusts, but they are essentially an agreement between three parties - the grantor/trustor, the trustee and the beneficiary/beneficiaries. The assets are transferred to the trustee who is responsible for managing them for the benefit of the beneficiary or beneficiaries.

Prince's estate was over ten times as large as Carrie Fisher's, but it is reported that he had made no plans for how it would be passed on, meaning a great deal of it could be lost unnecessarily in tax.

People will often consider that they don't have an estate of any real worth to justify making any significant plans for how it should be passed on. However, just a family home, a car and other assets are enough for someone to consider how they would want their belongings passed on in the event of their death. The first step is to write a Will, and as part of that process your will writing solicitor may feel it is appropriate to discuss trusts or other estate planning options.

If you want to speak to an estate planning solicitor in Northern Ireland contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by clicking here.