Many people use estate planning to make the probate process easier and faster for their loved ones -- or to avoid probate altogether -- but an estate plan can be effective even long after probate ends. Below are a few ways that estate planning can continue to affect others, decades after a person's passing.
Keeping the Genie in the Bottle/ Restricting use
Beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams passed away in 2014; however, his estate planning has become a recent topic of discussion. According to reports, Williams restricted the use of his voice, name, image, and signature for 25 years following his death. That means that no one can use his likeness for films or ads.
The reason why this is currently back in discussion is the upcoming release of a new Aladdin movie. In the previous version, Williams voiced the character of "Genie," who came out of Aladdin's lamp. In the upcoming film, Will Smith will play the role. People speculate that Disney wanted to use Williams' image or voice in the film, but his estate planning prevented them from doing so.
If you plan to leave gifts to your children or grandchildren, you may have specific wishes on how you want them to handle the gifts you leave. In some cases, they may be too young or inexperienced with money to responsibly manage large sums of money.
As part of your estate plan, you may decide to set up a trust. Doing so can give you the option of pre-determining the times/ages and the grounds/preconditions for payouts. This can prevent wasteful spending and allow your descendants to enjoy the financial gift longer.
Planning for future generations
You could also utilize estate planning and trusts to preserve wealth for future generations. You might decide to invest your money in real estate or exclusive collectibles or set up trusts to shield assets from lawsuits and tax liabilities.
You can also discuss family wealth and your financial outlook with your children and grandchildren. When they understand the importance of passing on inheritances and protecting wealth in the long run, it can be easier for them to adopt -- or at least respect -- your efforts to protect future generations.
If you're interested in discussing any of these topics in greater detail, please contact one of our estate planning attorneys.