American actor, Chadwick Boseman, best known for his acting in films such as 42, Marshall, and most recently The Black Panther, passed away recently after a four-year battle with colon cancer. While he married his long-time girlfriend, Simone Ledward, prior to his death, he failed to create a Will that would clarify who would receive his belongings.
In marrying Simone, Chadwick ensured that she would be entitled to certain marital rights as a surviving spouse, but this does not prevent his estate from going through probate. Unfortunately, due to the way that Boseman owned certain assets, Simone will have to go through the lengthy and costly probate process. Her first step has been to ask the court to name her as an administrator of the estate which is worth an estimated $938,500. It is very likely that Boseman had assets that will transfer outside of the probate process. Assets like retirement accounts and life insurance will typically name a beneficiary who will receive the specific asset outside of the probate process. These are referred to as “non-probate” assets. As such, it might not be clear based on the court documents as to what the value of the entire estate will be. Although there is some speculation that Boseman may have had other assets held in trusts, it is doubtful that it true. Ordinarily, if an attorney creates a trust for a client, they would also create what is called a “pour-over Will” which is a type of Will that would pour over any assets that go through the probate process into the client’s trust. Since Boseman did not have a Will, it is very unlikely that he had a trust.
Boseman, unfortunately, is not the only celebrity who has died without a proper estate plan in place. Prince, did not have a Will; James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano) had a Will but still had estate planning problems; and most recently there were significant flaws in Kobe Bryant’s estate plan. In fact, only one third of Americans have a will, many saying they simply haven’t gotten around to it. It’s important to realize how crucial it is that you have an estate plan in place. No matter how many assets you may have, you should be in charge of what happens to them. Do you want someone you love and trust to speak on your behalf, or do you want a court or judge to decide these important matters for you? By having an estate plan, you get to decide how your estate gets distributed.
If you want to have the authority over how your estate gets distributed and reduce the stress and financial strain on your loved ones, we’re here to help. Creating an estate plan does not have to be intimidating. With the help of an experienced estate planning attorney, you can put your estate plan into place in a timely manner and be confident in knowing that all your affairs are properly in order. Contact our office today if you would like to discuss creating or updating an estate plan that protects your assets for your whole family. Click here to schedule an appointment today or call our office at (952) 658-6503.
Zach Wiegand is a Minnesota probate attorney and estate planning attorney and the owner of Gold Leaf Estate Planning, LLC. Gold Leaf Estate Planning is an estate planning law firm that also handles probate and trust administration in Minnesota. We serve the Twin Cities metropolitan area with a focus on estate planning for clients in Burnsville, Eagan, Savage, Prior Lake, Lakeville, Apple Valley, Eden Prairie, Farmington, Rosemount, and the South Metro as well as clients in Woodbury, Lake Elmo, Maplewood, Oakdale, St. Paul and the East Metro. Our firm has offices in both Burnsville and Woodbury (Lake Elmo). The firm also handles probate in Dakota County, Washington County, Scott County, Hennepin County, and Ramsey County and most other counties in the Twin Cities Metro area. Zach has been named a Super Lawyer – Rising Star for 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. In addition, Zach is a member of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, the Twin Cities Estate Planning Council, and WealthCounsel – a national organization of estate planning attorneys dedicated to practice excellence. You can contact Zach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (952) 658-6503. Gold Leaf Estate Planning is located in Burnsville at 3000 County Road 42 W., Suite 310, Burnsville, MN 55337 and in Woodbury/Lake Elmo at 8653 Eagle Point Boulevard, Lake Elmo, MN 55042.