2020 ends with Intestate Celeb Estates

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The COVID-19-plagued 2020 has left all of our vulnerabilities to disease and death, regardless of age, gender, and socio-economic class. As a trust and estates attorney, I’m used to planning the worst possible scenario, albeit remote to most people. I have not been able to allay customers’ concerns in the same way over the past few months. More than ever before, I am like a broken record repeating, urging, and advocating that anyone over the age of 18, regardless of age, wealth or family structure, execute wills, powers of attorney and proxy in the healthcare sector. Everyone needs these documents to protect wealth, children, spouse, family, and themselves.

There are financial costs involved in executing legal documents. Sometimes this prevents individuals from consulting with an attorney. In other cases, individuals are too busy to look into the matter and put it off for a later date. Sometimes people do not want to deal with issues of disease and mortality and cannot bring themselves to ponder the important matters that are the subject of estate planning documents.

Such problems plague all kinds of people, and even if one can afford to plan, solving such difficult problems can affect the execution of documents. In the past few months we have learned that several celebrities have died in their guts without a last will or testament. Argentinian soccer star Diego Armando Maradona died in November at the age of 60. Many believe he was one of the greatest football players of all time. Argentina issued a three-day period of mourning in honor of his death. He had amassed a fortune that included real estate, financial assets, and jewelry. Maradona’s life was full of drama and his death is expected to be just as, if not more, tumultuous. He had eight children from six different partners and no last will and no will. Family struggles are expected given the breadth of the estate and the various individuals now forced to review and distribute their late father’s estate.

Interestingly, Maradona had publicly stated that he wanted to donate his fortune and leave nothing to his children. Unfortunately, he died of a heart attack before coming up with such a plan. According to the laws of intestacy, family members, not charities, receive the deceased’s funds. Argentine law also provides that a spouse and children must receive a certain amount of a deceased’s estate after making a final will. This is known as “forced inheritance,” which means that only a certain percentage can be made available to beneficiaries outside of a spouse and from children.

Another celebrity who recently died in the gut is former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. His estate is valued at approximately $ 840 million. He died at the age of 46 from inhaling smoke after a fire in a shed in New London, Connecticut. His brother and father have applied to be special administrators of his estate in the state of Nevada, where he resided. His estate administration will now be public, submitted to the probate court and under judicial supervision. Hsieh was survived by his two brothers and parents. Hsieh recently purchased eight homes in Park City, Utah. Buying real estate across state lines will make managing your estate even more complicated without a will and will or trust. It has been reported that Hsieh may have had drug and alcohol problems and that he was allegedly fixated with fire. He has also had cases of extreme diet and oxygen deprivation. His family encouraged him to go to rehab, but he died before receiving treatment. His death, classified as accidental, occurred as a result of a fire in a shed where Hsieh used a heater to reduce oxygen levels.

Finally, Chadwick Boseman, a famous actor, died at the age of 43 last fall after a long battle with colon cancer. His wife, Simone Ledward, petitioned the California courts for appointment as administrator of her late husband’s estate. The couple married in early 2020 and as such they gained the reputation to manage and maintain their estate. He had no children, so Ledward will receive the entire estate under California estate laws.

The aforementioned deaths of three celebrities, none of whom were older, shows that people of all ages, backgrounds, and wealth must process their estate plans immediately. With the start of a new year, we hope that the disease and death caused by COVID-19 will resolve. However, other dangers and causes of death will remain and we must prepare for them as well.

Cori A. Robinson is a one-on-one practitioner who founded Cori A. Robinson PLLC, a law firm in New York and New Jersey, in 2017. For more than a decade, Cori’s legal practice has focused on trusts and estates and legacy law, including estate and Medicaid planning, estate and administration, estate litigation, and guardianship. She can be reached at cori@robinsonestatelaw.com.

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