New York fans of the late musician David Bowie may not be aware that he struggled with financial problems in the 1970s and 1980s, but he also devised a creative solution that helped to ensure that he retained his wealth for his family. He worked with an investment banker to sell what were called "Bowie Bonds." These were 10-year investments secured by Bowie's royalties and copyrights.
According to the investment banker who worked with Bowie on the bonds, even in his younger years, Bowie was concerned about estate planning and providing for his wife and children. His estate is estimated to be at $200 million not counting the sales that occurred when his death was announced.
Because Bowie was a careful planner, he may also have set up revocable or irrevocable trusts to protect his family. This would save on taxes and also protect their privacy because trusts do not go through probate court. The process of administering and distributing trusts is not a public one. In contrast, many musicians fail to plan as well as Bowie did. Many only use wills or make no plans at all.
Even people who do not have the complex finances and the wealth of Bowie can learn from his example. Estate planning is a lifelong endeavor, and adjustments should be made throughout a person's life based on changes in financial and family situations. A solid estate plan for a person when they are 50 may not be right for the person once they reach 60 or 70. An attorney can often be of assistance in both creating the appropriate documents as well as in conducting a periodic review and update when necessary.