Monday, March 10, 2008

Ledger's will leaves nothing to daughter - Parental Responsibility to Prepare a Will?

Category: Estate Planning

While Heath Ledger's death may have been an accident, his failure to provide for his minor child is an example parental hubris I see all too often in parents of young children.

Yahoo News reports that Ledger's will leaves nothing to daughter : "Heath Ledger's will leaves nothing to his former girlfriend and their 2-year-old daughter because it was never updated after they became part of his life."

Parents of young children don't intend to die, but part of being a parent is being responsible for life of another person who cannot take care of themselves. Yes, you are young. Yes, you are healthy. Yes, life is good. However, as Mr. Ledger's unfortunate example shows, you can have it all, and bad things can happen to you too.

What I find particularly concerning is that Mr. Ledger was undoubtedly surrounded by scores of financial advisers - accountants, money mangers, attorneys. While I have probably heard all the reasons why a person can't make out a Will to protect their kids ("I don't have time", "I don't have enough money for it to matter", "I can't pick a guardian") all of these seem rather weak in retrospect. I assume if Mr. Ledger could have predicted his untimely death, he would have made sure his daughter was taken care of. While his family has said they will step up to the plate, shouldn't a parent do more then leave their child's future to the best intentions of others? Shouldn't a parent take the time to map that future out - just in case?


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