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Late actor’s assets in dispute despite cogent estate planning

by | Jun 6, 2017 | Estate Planning |

For those that have significant wealth and blended families, drafting estate planning documents is especially important if the person wants to avoid probate and disagreements among their family members after death. These circumstances apply to many people in California, whether they are in the entertainment industry, in business or in some other endeavor that has led to them having substantial assets. It is an unfortunate reality that even if the person was diligent in estate planning, there can still be legal battles over the estate. Such is the case with the late actor and entertainer Alan Thicke.

Thicke’s grown sons, Robin and Brennan, have filed a petition over the late actor’s estate. The case was filed in Los Angeles. The sons are named as Thicke’s co-trustees for his living trust. They assert that they are doing this to protect his legacy and his estate from their allegations of greed against his third wife.

Thicke died of a ruptured aorta late in 2016 as he played ice hockey with his youngest son. The older sons allege that his wife is trying to invalidate a prenuptial agreement that was signed prior to their marriage in 2005. She wants more of his estate than the agreement stipulates.

The sons would like guidance from the court as to how far the property in the trust goes in detailing separate property, and if there is a legal basis for Mrs. Thicke’s attempt to have access to it. The prenuptial agreement was meant to stop any claims to community property on her part. Mr. Thicke is said to have left an equal amount of his ranch, three-quarters of his personal effects and 60 percent of his estate to his three kids. Mrs. Thicke was set to receive 25 percent of his personal effects, a life insurance policy worth $500,000, his death benefits from unions and pensions, and 40 percent of his estate.

This is a difficult situation in that Thicke took the necessary steps to plan for his family after he died. Even though he implemented wills and trusts, his family still has ongoing disagreements regarding his assets. While most people will not be able to relate to this specific situation, there are numerous issues that arise every day for people in most different kinds of economic situations. Having a plan that lists all of the person’s wishes and makes certain that they are carried out is imperative, and a lawyer can help.

Source:, “Alan Thicke’s sons take his widow to court over estate,” Luchina Fisher, Sabine Ghebremedhin, May 18, 2017

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