Schneiderman Insurance Agency, Inc. Blog
He was Ziggy Stardust. Major Tom. The Man Who Fell to Earth. The Thin White Duke. Rock musician David Bowie embodied many distinct, memorable personas. Interestingly, his newly released 20-page will never mentions the name we all knew him by best – “David Bowie.”
What the will does reveal is that at his core the beloved singer-songwriter was a family man who put together a detailed plan 12 years ago after a heart attack to protect and provide for his widow, Iman, and two children.
This is the goal of many of our firm’s clients: Create a powerful estate plan to carry out their after-death wishes and make known to their loved ones just how much they really cared for them. It’s really that simple.
Born David Robert Jones, the gender-bending superstar built up an estate worth more than $100 million before his death from cancer on Jan. 10 at age 69, according to a recent article in The New York Times.
Bowie reportedly left half of his estate’s holdings to his widow, international supermodel Iman. The remaining half was divided between his son, Duncan Jones, 44, from a previous marriage, and his daughter Alexandria Jones, 15, through a trust because she is a minor. Bowie married Iman in 1992.
As far as real estate, Bowie specifically left his wife a very spacious SoHo apartment and left a mountain retreat in the Catskills to Alexandria through the trust. It wasn’t just his family that Bowie intended to protect after his passing. He also was generous with employees who served him and his family. He left his longtime personal assistant $2 million, along with all of his stock in a company called Opossum Inc. In addition, he left his family’s nanny $1 million.
In his will, the rocker named two executors – his business manager and a lawyer in London. The lawyer reportedly stepped aside, leaving Bowie’s business manager as sole executor.
We recommend clients choose more than one executor in their wills in case their first choice is either unable or unwilling to carry out the duties involved. When creating a trust, we also recommend clients name two or more persons as successor trustees. These documents can include language to indicate your client’s order of preference.
In clear terms, Bowie requested that his body be cremated and his ashes scattered in Bali according to Buddhist tradition. He also wanted no private or public funeral or memorial service to be held after his passing, reports said.
What should be done with bodily remains is another issue where clients can save loved ones a lot of anguish and stress. If a client doesn’t include instructions for this in his plan, it can become a contentious decision for loved ones. Bowie made it absolutely clear what he wanted to happen to his remains by putting it in writing.
The New York Daily News reported that Bowie signed his will in 2004, the same year he suffered a heart attack that forced him to cancel six shows in Europe.
It’s possible some of your clients may suffer a major health scare this year. If so, such an instance can be seen as a wakeup call telling them to get serious about planning for the future and to put together a solid estate plan for what they want done if they’re ever incapacitated or die.
Just like Bowie, too many people wait until something goes seriously wrong with their health before realizing they need a plan. They’re gambling that they’ll be as lucky as Bowie was in 2004 when he recovered from that heart attack and lived another 12 years.
That’s a really big wager that many people lose. As advisors, we must continue to show clients all the reasons why they need to create a strong plan before anything goes wrong.
We hope this information was useful to you and helps your clients and their families. If you have a specific case or a question, don’t hesitate to call our office.
From: Steven M. Greenwood (805) 277-5020