Lack of Will, Estate Planning Can Cause Survivors Needless Complications

Chadwick Boseman was young, famous, and financially successful. But when he died earlier this year from a form of cancer that only has a 60 percent survival rate, many were surprised to learn that he had left no will or instructions for his estate. As a result, a combination of federal tax laws and California estate laws will determine who will inherit his estate, what property will be inherited, and how the property will be divided.

“He may be the most recent high-profile person to die without a will or other estate plan but he is certainly not alone; by most estimates, a majority of Americans do not have a valid will or their will is out of date, poorly drafted, or self-prepared,” said Dallas estate planning and probate attorney Jake Pollack of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton. “In addition to inheritance uncertainty, the lack of a valid will can cause the estate-administration process to take much longer, be more burdensome and costly, and can include the involvement of people who you would not want to be involved. The lack of adequate estate planning also can leave an estate exposed to the federal estate tax.

“We may never know if Mr. Boseman wanted a will, was in the process of having one prepared, or hadn’t even considered one,” said Mr. Pollack. “Public information indicates that he was married but had no children, so his estate administration may not be complicated but will likely still be more lengthy and costly than if he had a valid will. The bottom line is that it is better to have a valid, current, and adequate will regardless of, and often because of, your family situation or wealth.”

For more information, please contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534 or

Are you ready to get started?