In most of life’s endeavors you have the leeway to make mistakes and learn from them, turning a negative into a positive in the long run. But when it comes to planning for all of the eventualities of aging and your eventual passing, you really do not have that luxury. You must recognize the need to plan for the future and take action well in advance to be fully prepared.
This having been stated, you can learn something from the successes and failures of celebrities. Whether it is a good thing or a bad thing is open to debate, but the lives of the rich and famous are put on display for us via the media and we are provided a window into details that can be instructional when you are planning your estate.
Along these lines there was an event of this nature in the news lately concerning 88-year-old French billionaire Liliane Bettencourt, who is said to be the second richest woman in the world with assets valued at about $23.5 billion. Over recent years she had divested herself of over $1 billion that wound up in the hands of French photographer Francois-Marie Banier. He was also named her sole heir in a new will that she had drawn up.
Her daughter filed a legal suit contending that her mother was not mentally capable of making sound decisions of this nature. The octogenarian billionaire is reportedly suffering from Alzheimer’s induced dementia. The court ruled in favor of the daughter, Francoise Bettencourt-Meyer, who is an only child. Bettencourt-Meyer and two of her sons will be in control of the Bettencourt fortune going forward.
This case demonstrates why incapacity planning is so important, and it also underscores the value of open and honest communication among family members when all parties are still completely lucid. It is a good idea to recognize the fact that incapacity strikes a significant percentage of the elder population and plan accordingly.
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