As someone who uses and iPhone® and an iPad® in my law practice and in my personal life, I’m grateful to Steve Jobs for his foresight, innovation, and refusal to let earlier failures and setbacks stop him from doing what he loved.  I am saddened by his recent passing and hope to see another innovator of his type sometime in my lifetime.

As a Michigan estate planning attorney, I take a keen interest in the estate planning people have done (or not done) . . . and celebrities are no exception.  Many times the stories of celebrity estate planning mistakes or triumphs are a way to help families better understand the importance of estate planning.

So, did Steve Jobs have an estate plan?  As the famous “eight ball” would say – signs point to yes.  According to a article there is some evidence that Mr. Jobs had some level of a trust-based estate plan.  As the article points out, if that is the case, we may never know the extent of his planning.  Why?  Because trusts, when used properly, are completely private – unlike wills that must be filed with the probate court.  This is a benefit of a trust-based estate plan that is often overlooked.

With the caring, family man that he was, it wouldn’t surprise me if he did have a comprehensive plan meant to protect his and his family’s privacy.  What an incredible gift to them.  Avoiding what I call the “double tragedy” – the passing of someone they loved and a mess of an estate plan (or no estate plan) on top of it.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that Mr. Jobs’ enormous wealth was the reason he had an estate plan.  The article points out several celebrities with ‘gobs’ of money who did not have an estate plan (or had an estate plan that was horribly inadequate for their financial and family situation).

Michael Lichterman is an estate planning and business planning attorney who helps families and business owners create a lasting legacy by planning for their Whole Family Wealth™.  This goes beyond merely planning for finances – it’s about who your are and what’s important to you.  He focuses on estate and asset protection planning for  the “experienced” generation, the “sandwich generation” (caring for parents and children), doctors/physicians, nurses, lawyers, dentists, professionals with minor children, family owned businesses and pet planning.  He takes the “counselor” part of attorney and counselor at law very seriously, and enjoys creating life long relationships with his clients – many of which have become great friends.