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Thompson Mungo Firm July 14, 2022

Chadwick Boseman is the famous actor behind the groundbreaking film Black Panther. He died on August 28, 2020, from colon cancer without any prepared Will before his passing. As a result, the court-appointed Boseman's wife as the estate's representative to pay the debts, taxes, and expenses and collect the assets. 

According to court filings, Chadwick Boseman left a $3,881,758.31 estate. However, after deducting the $1.5 million in expenses, including taxes, attorneys' fees, and court costs, the estate's total was reduced to $2.3 million.

With the court's approval, Boseman's wife, Simone Ledward Boseman, and his parents, Leroy and Carolyn Boseman, inherited his $2.3 million estates with 50-50% equal shares.

Without a Will, someone must petition the court for the inheritance. The deceased person's assets are subject to the legal process of probate. The process involves court intervention to ensure that taxes and obligations are paid and that any remaining assets are divided according to the law. 

We can see in Chadwick Boseman's case the following disadvantages of going through the probate process without a Will.

  1. Estate information is easily accessible by the general public.  There is no privacy in the probate process because it is a part of the public record, meaning personal, family, and financial information will be made public.

  2. Probate can be costly.  Costs to manage the probate of an estate can vary, and it is dependent on the estate itself; this may include court costs, administrative costs, and attorney fees. The higher the cost, the less inheritance your heirs will receive.

  3. Probate is time-consuming.  Probate can take a lot of time to complete. The probate case could take anywhere from 9 months to 12 years or even longer. It depends on whether it becomes contested and there are unresolved issues to be litigated. 

  4. Probate can be very stressful and complicated.  Handling the courts and the estate of a deceased person is a challenging process.

The Chadwick Boseman case study is an eye-opening one. He has achieved much not only in his career but also in his estate. However, because of the lack of proper estate planning, his estate being held up in the probate process for two years, one-third of his estate went to fees.

Estate planning is beneficial to everyone involved. It can decrease the court's workload, meet your needs and preferences, and keep you (and your kin) safe financially. 

Nobody wants to see and experience the death of someone they love, but not having an estate plan in place could prove very expensive and demanding to their loved ones. Having a Will allows you to decide how your assets will be distributed, and it protects the legacy you leave for your loved ones who matter most to you.

Thompson Mungo Firm is always open and available. If you have any questions and want someone to help you along the estate planning process, we are here to help.