There has been much discussion recently on the estate of Adam Yauch, co-founder of the popular music group, The Beastie Boys. Yauch died at 47 years of age in May 2012 after a battle with cancer. He had created both a Will and a Living Trust to protect his assets and his loved ones. All aspects of the Trust remain private, keeping his asset and beneficiary information away from the prying eyes of the media. A Will, however, is a public document and can be readily accessed by anyone.
In his Will, Yauch sets forth an unusual stipulation for his daughter, Tenzin Losel. Yauch and his wife Dechen disagreed about who should be the guardians to their daughter if the two of them should die, so they reached a compromise. In the Will, it is dictated that if Yauch died in a year with an even number, his parents would be appointed as primary guardians with his wife’s parents as the backup. If Yauch were to die in an odd-numbered year, the reverse would be true. Should Dechen pass away while their daughter is still a minor, Yauch's parents will have custody based on the stipulation regarding the year of his death.
There are two important lessons one can learn from the method with which Yauch planned for the guardianship of his daughter. The first lesson is to create a legal document that determines the guardianship of any minor children. This is vital. If you fail to make this important legal designation, the court will make the decision for you, and it may not be who you would have chosen. The second important lesson is to provide more than one person to serve as guardian. There should always be a back-up guardian or two in case the primary is unable or unwilling to perform in their designated role.
It is always reassuring when we see the results of an individual taking the time to plan their estates. Because Yauch and his wife planned properly, their assets and their daughter will be properly protected as needed. While death is a tragedy, especially at a young age, the burden can be lessoned by ensuring your loved ones are protected. We cannot prevent life’s unexpected storms, but we can protect ourselves and minimize any additional negative affects. This is the purpose of estate planning – to ease the path after a death.
About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.