We have seen many examples of celebrities not having an estate plan when they pass, or why updating your estate plan is so crucial in case the unexpected happens. This is always frustrating to see since we know that they have the means to get their affairs in order, and also have a responsibility to their loved ones so that they aren’t left with a huge mess to sort through after one’s passing. This case, however, is a little different.
Larry King, the beloved television and radio host, passed away in January of 2021 with an estimated net worth of $144 million. During this time he was also in the middle of divorcing his estranged wife, Shawn King. Shawn has stated that her and Larry had an estate plan put into place in 2015. What the family has since found out is that Larry wrote a handwritten will, a few months after filing for divorce in 2019, leaving his fortune to his children and shutting out his wife. To make things even more complicated, two of his children whom he named as beneficiaries, have unfortunately passed away between the time he wrote the will, and when King himself passed. Now his estranged wife is filing to contest the will and asking to be named as executor of his estate.
Of his surviving children, the eldest, Larry Jr., is also petitioning to be the executor of his father’s estate noting that his father was going through divorce proceedings and also argues that his father and Shawn were not living together any longer whilst in the midst of their divorce.
Why Updating Your Estate Plan is So Important
Here we see that Larry took the right steps in terms of updating his plan after filing for divorce, but is a handwritten note enough? While we don’t know everything that is in the handwritten document, we can only assume that there should have been more official documents prepared to protect his children, whom he wished to leave his fortune to. With proper consideration there could have been a named executor of his estate and a plan to divide assets properly in the way that he wished.
Estate planning is a lot of work, and with so many things to be considered, the process is necessary and should be done with a professional. Whether one has a high or low net worth, there are crucial documents that everyone should have. Maybe you aren’t worried about your assets, but what about your healthcare and medical decisions if you become incapacitated? There are many aspects of estate planning that individuals don’t consider outside of property and money.
Whether you have an estate plan or need to start the planning process, contact us and we can help. From creating new plans or updating existing plans, don’t take on the process on your own.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.