About two months ago, Chad Boseman, the star of “Black Panther,” died after a four-year battle with colon cancer. When he passed, Chad did not have a will, and his estate is now in the court system. Boseman’s movies are a testament to his legacy. From fictional kings to historical figures like Jackie Robinson, Boseman was famous for portraying people that audiences could look up to.
His wife requested to be named the administrator of his estate with limited authority. According to the court documents, the estimate of the estate is $939,000. The amount is not indicative of his entire estate, and his assets are in probate. Boseman’s situation of not having his estate planning in place is an example of the legal process of administering someone’s estate after death, one that requires court intervention.
Sadly, this has been the fate of many people. They have a false belief that if they do not have many assets, they do not need an estate plan, or believe if they pass, their assets automatically go to their spouse or family members.
Another time this has been in the news was when it happened to Prince. When he passed in 2016, he did not have a will; therefore, his assets went to probate court. For years, lawyers have been working on this case and racking up more bills to handle his assets. Because Prince did not do any pre-planning for his passing, it has caused his family stress, worry, and conflict.
Jimmy Hendrix was another celebrity that passed without a will. The fight over his estate went on for more than 30 years. Hendrix died in1970, and the family settled in 2015 for control over the musician’s $80 million estate.
If you do not have an estate plan in place, the court will have to decide your estate’s fate. These three scenarios are personal to me. My father did not have an estate plan. When he passed, my sister and I had to go through probate for seven years. After this experience, I was determined to learn more about tax law and determine the best way to ensure that family wealth would not be devastated by confiscatory estate taxes and probate costs and delays.
No one wants to think about their mortality; however, having an estate plan will help your family avoid probate and years in court. If you would like to talk about setting up an estate plan to protect you and your loved ones, please give me a call 858-564-7090.