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Despite thorough estate planning, one heir can upset everything

The truth is, once a person has passed on, he or she no longer has any control over his or her estate. For that reason, many people in Alberta put considerable effort into estate planning. Unfortunately, it takes just one disappointed heir to potentially upset the works, as is the case with a Hollywood widow who feels she deserves more than her allotted share.

Canadian actor Alan Thicke passed away in Dec. 2016. His ranch in California was left in trust to his three sons, including singer Robin Thicke, and he bequeathed them three-quarters of his personal items and 60 percent of the rest of his estate. To his third wife and widow he left the balance of his estate and personal effects, plus a $500,000 life insurance policy and assorted pension and union benefits. Much of this was stipulated in a 2005 prenuptial agreement.

According to Thicke's sons, his widow is set to challenge the terms of the prenup, which she claims is invalid, and the trust. Evidently, she feels she put her own acting career on hold to support Thicke and help raise his youngest son. Though her lawyer claims she wishes to mediate the situation, lawyers for Thicke's sons claim she has threatened to attract bad publicity and slander the family name.

Media attention like this is not likely for the average estate dispute, of course. However, any complex situation like this has the potential to become unpleasant for all involved. Though there is no foolproof way to avoid this type of thing, with careful estate planning it may be possible to limit the options to challenge a will or trust. An experienced Alberta lawyer can help make that happen.

Source: tribute.ca, "Alan Thicke sons in war with stepmom over estate", May 18, 2017

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