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BUZZ ALDRIN AND IDAHO ESTATE PLANNING

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By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

As an estate planning attorney for more than 20 years, I’m always on the lookout for interesting stories about Estate Planning, and either how it has helped individuals, or how not having estate planning done correctly can cause problems. Most recently I have been interested in the story of world famous astronaut Buzz Aldrin and the interactions he has had with his family through his estate planning documents.

If you are not familiar with the circumstances here is a quick summary. Buzz Aldrin attained an estate plan with the help of some attorneys. Part of the estate planning created a trust in which a good deal of money and other assets were placed. Apparently, Andrew Aldrin, the son of Buzz Aldrin, was named as the trustee of this trust.

Recently, Morgan Stanley, which is the financial institution holding several of the trust accounts, filed pleadings with a court asking for specific instructions about how to handle the money in the account. The reason this occurred is because Morgan Stanley claims to have been given contrary directions about distributions of monies from the accounts from the attorneys for Buzz Aldrin and from the attorneys for Andrew Aldrin. Morgan Stanley simply stated that they do not want to give the money away to the wrong party and they would like the court to determine who the money should be distributed to or who will be in control the money.

Further reading helped me understand that Buzz sued his kids accusing them of misusing his credit cards and transferring money out of his accounts without his permission. He claims that his son Andrew removed large sums of money from his accounts for pending or future business transactions that he did not discuss with Buzz. As a result, Buzz attempted to terminate the trust and his son Andrew’s appointment as the trustee. On the other hand, Andrew Aldrin claims that Buzz has begun to suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and that he is unable to handle his own financial affairs.

From the story there are a few things that we can learn that are important for us in making sure that our own estate planning is complete. Below are three things that you should consider given the story of Buzz Aldrin and his family dispute.

Have a Thorough Estate Plan

The first thing that is important to know is that you should have a thorough and a complete Idaho estate plan. A thorough estate plan will include a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney, a power of attorney for health care, a living will, and potentially trusts as well. The main thing is that you do not get a cookie-cutter estate plan. Rather, it is important that you get a plan that is customized to meet your specific and unique needs and circumstances.

Use an Attorney to Help You Plan

The second thing that we can learn from the story is how important it is to use an attorney to get your estate planning done. The reason for this is that a qualified and experienced estate planning attorney has the ability to look down the road of the future and think of all of the worst things that could happen and then make a plan that protects you from those worst things. One of the worst things that can happen is a family dispute arising about your estate planning while you are still alive or after you pass away. Through a thorough and well-crafted estate plan you have the ability to avoid most of these kinds of problem.

Update Your Plan When Necessary

The final thing we can learn from the story about Buzz Aldrin is the importance of updating your estate plan when necessary. If a circumstance changes in your life, such as a dispute arising between you and one of your own children, you may want to update your estate plan and remove that child from any appointments you may have given to them. Likewise, other circumstances may change in your life that would require you to update your estate plan to continue to meet all of your unique circumstances and needs.

If you have questions or concerns about your own estate planning contact us. We have helped numerous clients create and update their own personal estate plans and we are confident that we can help you too.

ENLIST AN IDAHO ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY TO HELP YOU

Our team of Idaho lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning or probate needs. Whether you are seeking to create or review an estate plan for yourself or would like to help a loved one, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation. You can also email us directly at lane@racineolson.com or stop by our office at 201 East Center Street, Pocatello, Idaho 83201. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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