January 2012: The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo but no Estate Plan
02/21 AIWN: Running Your Business in the Cloud (Information)

Estate Planning Questionnaires: Are You Prepared?

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About the Law Office of Paige Arden Stanley

The primary focuses of my law practice are in the areas of business law and estate planning. I not only serve as outside general counsel for small business owners, but I also prepare wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and health care directives. My background in litigation allows me to successfully negotiate and protect my clients' interests. For more information, please visit my firm's website or contact me at (404) 386-9950 or

A Note From Paige

The Importance of
Creating an Estate Plan

Stieg Larsson
Stieg Larsson. Image Source: The Guardian
Many of you are aware of, and have enjoyed, the work of Stieg Larsson, author of the Millenium Series of books, the first of which is the well-known The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. What you may not know is that Larsson suffered a heart attack and died suddenly in 2004, leaving behind a very lucrative book series but no estate plan by which to manage it. Larsson had been in a common law relationship with his partner, Eva Gabrielsson, for over 30 years at the time of his passing. Since they were not legally married and there was no will, under Swedish law, his entire estate went to his father and brother. In an interesting twist, Gabrielsson is in possession of Larsson's laptop, which contains an almost completed manuscript for a fourth book in the Millenium series, which she's basically holding hostage until some other details have been worked out. Needless to say, this story is far from finished.

Because Larsson did not take the time to properly execute an estate plan, the woman he loved and with whom he spent most of his life has no claim to the work he created while they were together. Moral of the story: If you have loved ones, take the time to create an estate plan that will clearly and fully express your true wishes on how to handle your estate upon your death.

How to Create Your
Own Estate Plan

I've used a celebrity to showcase the importance of an estate plan. But don't think this is only for the extremely wealthy. Everyone should have an estate plan in place. And let's not kid ourselves; death is inevitable, so you might as well be prepared! Here are a few steps to help you get your affairs in order. This is a starting point for creating your own estate plan, but it's best to contact a professional to ensure your documents contain everything needed and that they are legally binding.
  1. Get all your personal and financial ducks in a row: Make sure all your financials are up to date including designating beneficiaries. Make sure you know who has access to what (like passwords and logins), and check what insurance coverage you currently have and/or still need.
  2. Designate individuals to serve in important positions such as executors, trustees (if applicable) and agents: Clearly define who will be in charge of making decisions on your behalf and managing your affairs.
  3. Designate a guardian: Should you have children or pets, clearly define who will assume responsibility for making decisions and caring for them.
  4. Review recent tax changes: How you currently have your designations structured can be altered by changes in tax laws. Think about how these will affect your beneficiaries' portions of your estate.
  5. Create a master list of resources: If those you've left behind have questions, designate specific professionals who you trust will help them navigate your estate properly. Include lawyers, insurance agents and other appropriate professionals.
  6. Express your wishes to all involved: Take the time to not just put things in writing, but also speak with everyone potentially involved in your estate plan. Explain the steps you've chosen to take, those who will be in charge of the process and why, so that every person is on the same page.
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Items in this Newsletter may be excerpts or summaries of original or secondary source material, and may have been reorganized for clarity and brevity. This Newsletter is general in nature and is not intended to provide specific legal or other advice.
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