Friday, September 17, 2021

Black America, Do You Understand the Importance of Estate Planning?

john singleton

*Black Enterprise has noted the importance of Black folks having a will in place before they pass, as not having one can turn families against each other lead to endless sparring over finances and property.

According to New York-based probate attorney Lori Anne Douglas, “Black Americans are 50% less likely to have a living will in place in comparison to other groups.”

“Estate planning,” she continues, “is much bigger than ‘You get this after I die’—it can be about setting our families up for the type of generational wealth that has long alluded our community. Having done this for 25 years and watched all the money that was lost in families because they didn’t have any planning, I am convinced that if the African American community got on the good foot and every black person who is alive over 60 did their estate planning, we’d be the richest minority group in the United States in one generation. We used to be the assets. Now we have assets.”

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via Black Enterprise:

Creating a will can be confusing for some. You may wonder; Do I need an attorney? Do I have to have a will notarized? What if I want to change my will? These are all valid questions. You also don’t need to be rich to have a will in place. Each state has its own requirements for how a will can be crafted and legitimized. But what most states have in common is that you can write a simple will, have it notarized and/or signed by two witnesses. This allows you to itemize exactly your wishes during your final days and after passing on. It also allows flexibility in updating estate plans when the need arises. Legalzoom.com also gives simple step-by-step instructions on what one can do to prepare a will without an attorney.

The outlet also notes how celebrities such as Michael Jackson had a will in place at the time of his death in 2010 but John Singleton did not have “adequate estate planning in place,” blackenterprise.com writes, adding: “His alleged $35 million fortune is still being contested in court by his seven children, six of whom were not included in the will he created in 1993 when his eldest daughter, Justice Singleton, was born.”

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Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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