Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s Tragic Suicides Can Teach us about Estate Planning
Earlier this month, famous fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain were victims of apparent suicide. Their tragic deaths were unexpected by fans all over the world, even close family and friends. The topics of mental illness, depression, and suicide have been at the forefront of the news and present a difficult reality to accept. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates are on the rise in the United States; states like North Dakota have seen a 57.6% spike in suicide since 19991. One misconception about suicide is that most victims have a history of mental illness or depression. In reality, suicide frequently happens without warning signs or a long term mental health battle but rather due to a traumatic issue the person was dealing with. Whether unexpected or not, death of any kind leaves behind legal issues and estate questions to be answered. This topic reminds us how important it is to be prepared for anything and to have our affairs in order.
Organizing our finances in advance is of the utmost importance. It is important to start thinking about what assets you have, who you want to inherit your assets, who will oversee the distribution of those assets, and what you want in your will.
Additionally, updating your will every year is extremely important. Both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were separated from their spouses but not legally divorced. While this may be an amicable solution at first, it becomes complicated when someone dies. If separated but not divorced upon death, the surviving spouse will still legally be the next of kin, regardless of how the relationship stood. Spouses have many rights and legal privileges that terminate only upon divorce. This is something that needs to be taken care of so as to avoid legal battles after death.
While estate planning can seem burdensome, unnecessary for the time being, and even scary, it is much better to be prepared. If there is one thing that can come from unexpected tragedies such as the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain it’s to learn the importance of being prepared.
The Probate Pro has been drafting up personalized estate plans for over 20 years! We would be happy to take a look at your situation with one of our free consultations. Give us a call, you have nothing to lose!
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Written by Katie Miller