Cynthia Crofoot Rignanese, Esquire
Thinking Globally, Practicing Locally in Central Florida Since 1990

Recent Articles

Rignanese Law Blog

What Princess Di Can Still Teach Us

World Famous Princess Diana, or Princess Di as most of her adoring fans called her, left this earth in a car accident heard round the world in 1997 in France.

The princess had been divorced from her husband, Prince Charles, for a mere year and left behind two young sons, William Arthur Philip Louis, known as Prince William, and Henry Charles Albert David, known as Prince Harry.

Although the Princess had a will and an amendment to it called a Codicil, she also had written out other wishes that some experts believe were her strong wishes. Unfortunately, the estate of Princess Diana was not handled with the same grace, dignity and class that she exuded in life. Diana left a “letter of wishes” asking her estate representatives to “divide, at [their] discretion,” her personal property and give one quarter to her 17 godchildren. Each godchild would have received property worth 100,000 pounds ($162,700 US dollars at the time). But Diana’s estate representatives never made these substantial monetary gifts. In fact, they went to a court in the UK and received a court order to disregard the “letter of wishes,” without even notifying the godchildren. Instead of 100,000 pounds, each godchild received only a single memento, such as an commercially available watercolor painting, incomplete tea set,  or, according to one godchild’s parent, a “grubby trinket.”

What can we learn from Princess Di? 

Don’t undermine your will or trust by taking shortcuts. Ideally, all your intentions should be incorporated into your will or trust and not listed in a separate document. A separate personal property list can work here in Florida IF it is referenced in the Will, but giving the estate representative “discretion” to follow it means that your wishes may not be carried out.

It is best to meet with Rignanese & Associates so that we can guide you in how to document your personal wishes in your will or trust. Let us help you save time, trouble and money by doing proper planning. 

Rignanese & Associates is available to work with clients on their individual estate planning. Please reach out to us at our new headquarters at 203 Avenue A, NW, Suite, 101, Winter Haven, Florida 33881 at 863.294.1114.

Cynthia Rignanese