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3 things to take away from Anthony Bourdain's estate plan

The tragic death of Anthony Bourdain struck a chord for millions of people, whether they admired him as a chef, a traveler, an author or a television personality. Much of his success derived from his curiosity, so it is perhaps not a surprise that fans are similarly curious about Bourdain's life.

One place people are finding information about Bourdain is his estate plan, the details of which were recently released when his will was probated. And while his plan is not extraordinary or scandalous, there are a few things others can learn from it.

  1. Confidentiality is not guaranteed. Probate is a public process, and the details of assets that go through probate can be available to any interested party. This is why news outlets already have specific information on Bourdain's estate, assets and wishes. To keep details private, consider solutions like setting up a living trust to avoid the probate process and protect your privacy.
  2. There are some assets people overlook. Bourdain reportedly left his frequent flyer miles to his estranged wife. Frequent flyer miles are an example of assets that people might overlook when creating an estate plan. While they are not tangible, they do have value and can be passed to others (though the process can be tricky). Think about your miles, memberships and similar assets when creating your own estate plan.
  3. Estate plans can ensure the right people receive property. Reports note that Bourdain left behind an estranged wife, a girlfriend and a daughter; he also had an ex-wife. Had he not had an estate plan in place, there could have been uncertainty and disorder regarding who was to receive which assets. Having a will in place can prevent messy legal battles among loved ones and clear up any confusion before issues even arise.

When someone in the public eye passes away, people often sensationalize the death or the details of his or her life. However, in the eyes of the law, they are no different from anyone else in terms of settling affairs and distributing property. In other words, whether you are a celebrity or not, having a solid and enforceable estate plan in place can be beneficial.

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