You know those people you admired from afar, secretly wishing they were somehow related to you. Even if they couldn’t be your father or brother, could they at least be a distant cousin? Any form of connection would do. You admired their success, the wealth they had built for themselves, the legacy they had created. You imagined how easy their lives must be, how doors would swing open at the mere mention of their names. Their families are lucky, you always concluded. Their lives would be a lot easier than the average person’s and their future secured. You could only imagine all the wealth they would eventually inherit if anything happened to the famous person they are related to.
Well, they may indeed have enjoyed benefits by reason of their relationship. But for some of them, such privileges ended with the person’s demise. Surprisingly, loads of rich and popular people die intestate (without writing a Will), throwing the families they leave behind into conflict and confusion. Let us consider five famous examples.
- Bob Marley; Despite his widespread fame and exposure, Bob Marley didn’t write a Will!. He probably had hoped to live to a ripe old age but his four-year fight with cancer could somehow have prepared him for mortality and driven him to write a Will. Well, he didn’t and two decades later, his family are still frequenting court rooms debating the administration of the $30 million estate he left behind.
- Abraham Lincoln: Extremely famous lawyer who became America’s 16th president somehow died without documenting his wishes in a Will. Following his unexpected demise, his family had to employ the services of Justice David Davis of the United States Supreme Court to help in the administration of his estate.
- Martin Luther King Jnr: He had a dream and a family who loved him, but he didn’t have a Will. His estate has since been the subject of many law suits as his children and family fall in and out of disagreements as to how his estate should be run.
- Prince: Still fresh in our memories, Prince’s demise shook the world as did the petition filed by his sister closely after she lost her brother. Although there are speculations of a hidden Will somewhere in Toronto, the signs of a long family feud and court battle for assets are already evident.
- Pablo Picasso: One of the most revered artists to walk the earth lived well into his eighties but never came around to writing a Will. His large family comprising of wives, mistresses, children and more children were left to figure out what he had and what to do with his assets on their own.
Maybe you are not extremely rich and famous yet and your family is not large- you only have two children, a few cousins, grandparents, uncles and aunties, etc. It does not matter much. If you have assets of any kind and people who love you about whom you also care, you should have a Will. Don’t wait until you have a house in Banana Island or Wuse II, start with those share certificates, that Retirement/Pension fund, those mutual funds, that plot of land. If you have any of these and more, my brothers and sisters, you have assets and you need a Will.
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