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Iconic actor Chadwick Boseman, known for portraying Black Panther, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinsons, and others lost his battle with colon cancer on August 28, 2020. Boseman unfortunately died intestate (without a Will), so the details of his estate are being made public through California probate court proceedings.
The estimated value of the assets subject to probate, according to probate court filings made by Boseman’s widow, is $938,500. Certain assets pass outside of probate administration, regardless whether there was a Will. These include assets with named beneficiaries such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts, assets held inside of a revocable or irrevocable Trust, and assets owned as joint tenants with rights of survivorship.
Under California law, which governs estate distribution in the absence of a Will, Boseman’s surviving spouse stands to inherit the probate assets. She also has priority under the law to serve as the administrator (executor) of his estate.
While it appears that the distribution of his estate will be fairly straightforward, the fact that it has to go through probate court administration means paying court costs and attorneys’ fees, not to mention the time and effort Boseman’s widow must expend dealing with the probate process. It also opens the estate up to public scrutiny and increases the likelihood of claims against the estate and estate contests.
Like many other celebrities who died prematurely before him, it appears that Boseman put off the estate planning process. Unfortunately, we never know how much time we have left. If you do not have a current Will or other estate planning documents in place, contact The Estate Planning & Legacy Law Center today. Documenting your wishes now can provide peace of mind and can help you and your loved ones avoid being in the situation Chadwick Boseman’s widow now finds herself in.