Have you heard the story of Abraham Lincoln?

Not the part about what a great president he was...

Or that he saved the Union...

Not the good parts of the story...

But the other part...

 

The part where he left his family without provision when he died...

The part where he didn't have any written papers to say how ownership of his property should pass to his family after he died...

The part about how his family was left without any money at all for nearly two years and eight months.

 

Yes...

That's right...

 

This brilliant man had his property tied up in probate court for two years and eight months.

 

What did his wife and children live on during that time?

 

No planning...

 

And why?

Because he didn't expect to die right then...

 

He thought he'd have time to get around to getting those papers in place.

 

He was wrong...

 

And his family paid a steep price for that mistake...

They paid that price for the more than two and a half years it took to get through probate...

But the impact of that lasted a lifetime.

 

Or what about the story of Elizabeth Taylor?

Did you know that Elizabeth Taylor, a movie and stage star whose life was played out in the newspapers, took control of her financial matters?

She was able to keep her financial matters private after her death. Out of the public eye. With a few critical papers she was able to avoid public scrutiny and protect her family's privacy after her death because she had a trust.

Complete planning by Ms. Taylor.

 

Only her eighth husband talked to the media. No one else did. And there are no public records for us to read. No probate court file. There are no court records to verify his story.

 

How about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis?

A great lady who treasured her privacy and the privacy of her family during her life...

She ducked the photographers.

Over and over again...

She protected her children from the public eye...

 

But in death, she did not...

Her estate planning did not conceal her financial affairs...

 

That's because her main estate planning document was a Last Will and Testament...

See www.angelfire.com...

 

You can Google her name...

Check out the N.Y. Times article of December 21, 1996.

 

Didn't her lawyer tell her that a will was a public document?

Didn't her lawyer tell her that anyone could read her will after her will was filed with the probate court?

For a woman so careful about maintaining her privacy, in the end her privacy was lost...

 

Even years later, anyone with an internet connection can read how she passed her property...

Who got what...

 

Those who want to know can discover to whom she gave a copy of President Kennedy's inaugural address that was signed by poet Robert Frost.

 

Do you want people to know to whom you give your precious property?

 

You don't need to be like the people described here to plan your estate.

"Many people believe that they don't have enough possessions to do estate planning. Everyone, however, has something that someone else wants when they are gone. This could range from family keepsakes to family companies." Estate Planning For the Blended Family, by Hood and Bouchard

You do not have to have a great deal of accumulated wealth or property to create an estate plan...

All you need is to care about how your loved ones will be provided for if you were to die or be stricken with an illness that would leave you unable to make decisions for yourself.

 

David Woods, Attorney
636-448-1748

427 West Terra Lane
O’Fallon, Missouri 63366

The best way to contact me is to telephone me at 636-448-1748. If I don’t answer immediately, leave me a voice mail. Please tell me your first and last name, your phone number, and the best time to reach you. I will return your call before the close of the next business day. I look forward to helping you.