I write a lot on my blog about how to protect your assets, but just as important as the question of how to protect your assets is the question of why? At some point every person asks themselves “what (or who) am I doing this for?”
British fashion designer Alexander McQueen certainly knew the answer to this question, as evidenced by news of how he chose to distribute his $26 million estate. According to this article in New York Magazine McQueen left much of his fortune to charities, after apportioning generous amounts to his family, to two of his long-standing and loyal housekeepers, and (in true celebrity fashion) to his dogs.
Much noise has been made about the amount McQueen chose to leave to his dogs ($82,000), with some news sources making comparisons to Leona Helmsley, Gail Posner, Beryl Reid, and other wealthy celebrities who chose to leave staggering amounts of money to their pets. But I think that the most newsworthy portion of this story is not that McQueen chose to leave such a fortune to animals, but that the way he chose to distribute his assets was so obviously a labor of love.
The beneficiaries of McQueen’s estate are all obviously people or causes that were very, very close to his heart:
* His family—siblings, nieces and nephews, and his godson.
* Two housekeepers who had reportedly been with him for years, and who very likely were considered like family to McQueen.
* Four charities about whose causes McQueen cared deeply, including The Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and The Blue Cross Sick Animal Center.
There are a number of different ways to protect your assets. Part of what we do for our clients is to evaluate their assets and their goals, and help them choose an asset protection plan which will best help them achieve those goals. For some clients this means putting assets in trust, for others it means drawing up a pre-nuptial agreement. Every person—every situation—will be different. For Alexander McQueen, it seems that the best way to protect his fortune was to ensure that his assets were put into the hands of the people and pets he loved, and the organizations which would continue doing the work he found so important.
If you are currently considering how to protect your assets I urge you not only to consider how but also the question of why. Sometimes finding the answer to the second question will provide the best answer for the first.