Bittersweet Lessons from Arnold Palmer’s Legacy

In a year that is saddened by many celebrity deaths, including some recent deaths in the sporting world, one that's notable from an estate planning perspective is that of Arnold Palmer—but not in the way that you might expect.

As of the time of this writing, there's been no news about his estate. We are hopeful that he had a well drafted will that set forth his plans for his estate and his family.

When I think of Arnold Palmer, I think of the great summer drink that bears his name: The Arnold Palmer. As most people know, the drink is half lemonade and half iced tea (vary the sweetness of the lemonade or the tea as much as you like). How does this bear on estate planning?

I make this metaphor: a will is really just a recipe. And often, like an Arnold Palmer, it’s a very simple recipe. A well drafted will can be as simple as:

-- "All to spouse, otherwise in trust for children."

-- "Equally to my 3 sons, with my brother, their uncle, to be the executor."

-- "Half to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and half to Save the Whales."

Is your will likely to be as simple as this? Maybe not, but an initial conversation could be that simple.

Mistakenly, any people think that drafting a will involves very difficult decisions about where money should go; requiring a detailed survey of all of their holdings, including dormant savings accounts and dry cleaning receipts. Sometimes, yeah, but usually not.

If you require more detailed planning, then of course, you should discuss that with a good estate planning attorney. If it does turn out to be simple, won't you be happy that you've taken care of this important work in a way that leaves a clear plan for those who come after you?

To celebrate, perhaps a delicious Arnold Palmer when you're out on your porch would be in order.

Contact me today with questions or comments.