After the death of late country legend Glen Campbell in August 2017 at the age of 81, his eight children likely thought they would be sharing some or all of his estate, estimated at $50 million. However, when the details of his Will were made public, his three children from his second marriage – a marriage that ended in 1976 – learned that they were not included in the Will.
The three excluded children are contesting the Will, with a hearing scheduled for January. It’s not clear from details released so far whether the Will intentionally omitted the three, or if the will pre-dated their births and failed to provide for children born or adopted after the date of the Will. If the latter is true, it’s possible the court will find that Campbell simply forgot to update his Will.
Regardless of the size of your estate, it is important to ensure your estate planning documents accurately reflect your wishes. Ensuring your Will or Trust is updated to include those family members and friends who you want to inherit can avoid situations like this after your death.
If you intentionally want to disinherit a child, a sibling or another relative, ask your estate planning attorney to craft a Trust Agreement that leaves no room for ambiguity. For example, your Trust could include a statement that says, “although I know that person X is my natural heir, I intentionally did not provide for him/her.” This type of language could eliminate the need for, or allow for the quick resolution of, litigation after your death.
You are not obligated to leave an inheritance for a child, a sibling, step-child or any member of your spouse’s family. However, if you are not clear, there can be situations where a family member assumes they are entitled to inherit and that you must have made a mistake in your Trust Agreement.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation to review your own documents. No matter what your estate planning requirements may be, we are here for you. We will carefully listen to you to create an estate plan that meets your wishes and needs.