The COVID-19-plagued 2020 has left all of our vulnerabilities to disease and death, regardless of age, gender, or socio-economic class. As a trust and estates attorney, I’m used to planning the worst, albeit distant, scenario for 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 everyone over the age of 18, regardless of age, wealth, or family structure, execute wills, powers of attorney, and representations 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 and postpone matters 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 they 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, including real estate and jewelry. Maradona’s life has been full of drama, and events after his death are expected to be just as, if not more turbulent. He had eight children from six different partners.
With no will or will, his eight children will share the property. 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 has publicly stated that he wants 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 outside of the next of kin may be wanted.
It has also been reported that former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh died without a last will or will. His estate is valued at approximately $ 840 million. He died at the age of 46 from inhaling smoke after a fire in New London, Connecticut. His brother and father have applied to be special administrators of his estate in Nevada, where he lived. His estate administration will now be public, submitted to the probate court and under judicial supervision. Hseih was survived by his two brothers and parents. Hsieh recently purchased eight homes in Park City, Utah. Buying real estate across state borders will make managing your property even more complicated with a last will and trust. It has been reported that Hseih may have had drug and alcohol problems. He was supposedly fixed with fire. He has also had cases of extreme diet. His family encouraged him to go to rehab, but he died before receiving treatment. Hsieh once said he went to a shed attached to the house and asked the people in the house to check on him every five minutes on the people’s account. They said he used a heater in the shed to lower the oxygen levels.
It is not clear what started the fire. When the others in the house tried to get to him, they couldn’t. One emergency worker told others that he was barricaded inside. Hsieh died as a result of smoke inhalation, the coroner said.
His death was classified as accidental.
Chadwick Boseman’s wife, Simone Ledward, has petitioned the California courts to be appointed administrator of her husband’s estate. Boseman and Ledward, who have been together for five years, got married in early 2020. The marriage gives Ledward the right to petition the court for control of the estate and also positions her as the sole beneficiary of the estate as Boseman has no children.
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 [email protected].