On October 15th, Taylor Simone Ledward, the wife of Chadwick Boseman, filed documents with the Los Angeles probate court seeking to be named administrator of his estate nearly two months after the death of Black Panther star. They were married earlier this year and the marriage gives Ledward the right to any assets held in Boseman’s name at his death.
Boseman died at age 43 on August 28th following a four-year battle with colon cancer and it seems the young actor had no will, based on the court documents. It surprising that the young star never made a will, but he is hardly the first celebrity to do so before their death. Numerous big-name stars like Aretha Franklin, Prince, and Jimi Hendrix all made the same mistake.
However, unlike these others, it appears to be very likely that Boseman did employ other estate planning tools. Bosman earned a significant amount of money from the quantity of films he stared in and several source estimate that his assets at the time of his death should have been far more than the $939,000-odd listed in the probate documents.
What, then, happened to the rest of Bosman’s wealth? As his death wasn’t a surprise, some commentators have suggested that the bulk of Boseman’s assets passed through private trusts. But if that was the case, why didn’t he also have a will, which is almost always be created alongside trusts?
Last week in part one, we speculated on a few potential explanations for this apparent blind spot in Boseman’s estate plan and how the young actor could have prevented the situation by creating a pour-over will. Here in part two, we’ll focus on another critical component of Boseman’s estate plan—incapacity planning.
Protecting your assets is only the start
As important as it is to create planning vehicles to ensure that assets get properly distributed upon your death, planning for your potential incapacity is also a vital part of your estate plan. Boseman, with his cancer, would have needed a comprehensive incapacity plan even more than the average adult. All adults over 18 years old, regardless of age or health conditions, should have the three essential planning documents in place to protect against potential incapacity: a medical power of attorney, a living will, and a durable financial power of attorney.
These planning tools would give the individuals of your choice the immediate authority to make your medical, financial, and legal decisions as soon as you become incapacitated, without the need for court intervention. If these documents are prepared correctly, your family can even engage in planning that would support your eligibility for government healthcare benefits.
Without such planning tools in place, your family would have to destitute your estate before you could claim governmental support for your medical care, and your loved ones would also have to petition the court to appoint a guardian or conservator to manage your affairs, which can be extremely costly, time consuming, and even traumatic.
Seeing that Boseman was suffering from end-stage colon cancer, such planning tools would have been a critical part of his plan. We’ll probably never know for sure if he had such documents in place, but since he died peacefully at home surrounded by his friends and loved ones, it seems more than likely that he did.
No one here gets out alive
As Boseman’s death illustrates, even superheroes need to plan for the future. Death and illness strike, regardless to how old you are or how much wealth you have, so having a comprehensive estate plan is something better done sooner rather than later.
Whether you already have a plan created or nothing at all, meet with us, as your Personal Family Lawyer®, to discuss the specific planning strategies best suited for your particular situation. With us on your side, you’ll have access to the same planning tools and protections that A-list celebrities use, which are designed to keep your family out of court or conflict no matter what happens. Contact us today to learn more.
This article is a service of Levi Alexander, Personal Family Lawyer®. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.
Art by georgekev