WHY DAVY JONES (OF THE MONKEES) SHOULD HAVE DONE SOME ESTATE PLANNING
In case you didn’t get the memo, Davy Jones of the Monkees passed away last February. He had an estate. He had a will and it has been filed with the court. And an interesting thing has happened recently in that preceding in Florida: The daughter, who is asked to be the executor of the will, asked the court to seal that document from public view. Normally a will comes into the probate court and it is open to the public and anybody can go look at it.
And so there is lots of buzz about why that might be the case — why she wanted it to not be viewed by the public. And there’s been some legal wranglings and I’m sure some lawyers have made lots of money about it. The 33-year-old wife of Davy Jones, who is less than half his age and is younger than a couple of his daughters, was married to Davy a couple of years ago after he had signed this will.
And there is a provision in Florida law that says, you may file a claim and be able to receive one half of the estate in what is called a pre-termitted will. That means the will was executed before you get married, unless there’s a prenuptial agreement or some other reason to think she should be left out, then she gets half of the estate. And I’m pretty sure the daughters aren’t all that anxious for that to happen. It looks like there was some problems between the family. And that’s all too bad because it’s in the public and people know what’s going on.
But the bottom line on this, from my perspective, and the reason I wanted to talk about this is when you have a trust, you don’t have those kinds of problems. It does not go to a court, very rarely are there challenges and there is no such thing as a pre-termitted spouse. So, you’ve got to be aware of what’s going on in your state, and most people probably aren’t.
I’m guessing that even Davy Jones wasn’t aware that that was the state of the law. And he had lawyers and people who were advising him. So most of us regular people don’t have access to that kind of information. A trust avoids all those problems. You are able to design it to where you can do what you want to do, leave out who you want to leave out, and it’s all by private contract, nobody can have access to it until you unless you let them.
And that is another reason why I like to recommend my clients have a living trust and don’t have to go through all of the drama of a probate proceeding.
Estate Planning Dr. – Clint W. Smith, Attorney
1423 S. Higley Rd. #120
Mesa, AZ 85203