Amy WinehouseDespite the tumultuous life Amy Winehouse led in her 27 years, she managed to stabilize matters after her death with an ironclad will, according to reports. Let this be a lesson to both the famous and the obscure: A will is a good idea at any adult age.

"The issue is, you never know when you will pass away," estate attorney Kenneth Meskin of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus in Bridgewater, N.J., told DailyFinance. "Particularly when you're young and your life is unsettled, it may be more important."

The question of who would reap the spoils from the singer's creative output, which includes two albums and an as-yet-published third, had at first pointed toward her ex-husband, the jailed thief Blake Fielder-Civil. English law tends to favor an ex-spouse if no new will has been written since the divorce, according to

But Winehouse's most recent will did omit Fielder-Civil, the Daily Mail reported Tuesday, so her fortune, estimated between $9.8 million and $32.8 million, will go to her parents, Janis and Mitch, and her brother Alex. (The Mail put her assets at $16.4 million.)

Amy WinehouseThe prospect of Fielder-Civil, who reportedly introduced Winehouse to hard drugs, benefiting from her passing was one of many uncomfortable scenarios that could have played out without a will in place. "I can envision that there's a number of significant legal issues arising out of her assets," said Meskin, who has no relation to the case.

But Winehouse made her wishes known in the most legally airtight way possible, and you don't need to have royalties from a Grammy-hogging album like Back to Black to go the same route. A will is a commonsense precaution for grownups with something to lose after they're gone. "The more assets you have, the more important it is," Meskin said.

In this country, the states decide on the pecking order of beneficiaries in the event someone dies without a will, Meskin said. "Instead of you making your decisions, your state in which you reside makes the decisions."

Here are a few other facts about wills that you should know:

• Any adult who is accruing assets should think about a will. But once you've accumulated $100,000 or more in assets, you should get serious about it, Meskin said. There are several do-it-yourself methods that can help. One reputable one is Quicken WillMaker Plus, sold at www for $41.99, according to Janet Novack of If you have more than $200,000 in assets, seek the help of a professional, Meskin advised.

• One of the more important determinations in a will is the executor.
This is the person you trust to carry out your wishes. Again, each jurisdiction has a designee in place based on familial relationships, if you didn't choose for yourself. If the lawful order assigns someone you didn't trust while you were alive, you're stuck with that person when you're dead. How's that for resting in peace?

• It's all about the kids. Perhaps the most important question you will face if you're a parent is who would take custody of your minor children if both you and your spouse have passed. Put it in the will, or the court will decide. Getting that choice down in writing can eliminate the guessing, fighting and expense of a court battle, Meskin said.

On many fronts, having a will makes sense -- even for those without a lot of dollars and cents. Said Meskin: "Those without significant assets should have their wishes known, or a court will decide."

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Tara Stok

Amy Winehouse is dead because of her ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil. He is the one who introduced her to the drugs. He might as well took a gun and shot her himself. He does not disserve anything from her estate or any sympathy. Amy was sick and needed help, drug addiction is an illness.

August 05 2011 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

if each of us were to be judged by the worst thing we'd done in life, where would that leave you? is complicated & so are we......give the girl a break, she's passed on, say a prayer for those she left behind........& thank god the sun rose this morning & you get to experience a new day......

August 04 2011 at 8:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Glad this piece of trash finally died, and this goes to every @#$$ junkie that stuff themselves with any kind of illegal drugs......when you buy those drugs you are contributing to innocent people's misery because your money is financing those scum thugs so they can buy more weapons bribe more people, kill and create more havoc in their towns, cities and countries......from what I see this trash contributed with a lot of money to their cause.....I hope that if you are doing drugs you end up in the same situation more sooner than later ..

July 28 2011 at 5:59 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to oshow777's comment

I'm sorry she died so young, but her injuries were self-inflicted. Yes leave a will, but better yet, get an actual, real life as a moral, normal person. Who knew what she sang, if she did sing. Did she have family or an agent to help her find here way out of her dug-stupor into reality. It's kind of pathetic the way we focus on these sad people and their ruined lives.

July 28 2011 at 1:24 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

And, as I often tell family and friends, if you're young and healthy but poor, there's a reasonable likelihood you may die in an accident and the proceeds of a possible law suit could be substantial. You never know what life, or death, may bring. Wills are very reasonable to have drawn, probably less than a weekend in New York.

July 27 2011 at 9:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

r.i.p. amy

July 27 2011 at 8:59 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

there are nut house's all over it would have took 2 family members to put there names on papers maybe she would be here today,

July 27 2011 at 8:27 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

God Bless this troubled child ... who was loved by her parents and whom will never be the same after the tragedy of her premature death. She was ill with an addiction that no one could have helped her overcome except herself and she just could not. I pray for her peace and for comfort for her family during this extremely sad time. Goodnight dear child. We thank you for your music and for sharing it with us for the short time you were with us.

July 27 2011 at 8:02 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

Good for you Amy, RIP

July 27 2011 at 7:14 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
David R. Priest

England has a 40% estate tax so the British Government will get most of the money!

July 27 2011 at 5:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply