Star Trek actor left no will

Anton Yelchin is best known for playing Clumsy Smurf in The Smurfs (oh, yeah, and Pavel Chekov in the new Star Trek movies). At the age of 27, he died in an accident. News media are reporting that his parents have filed probate, claiming that he did not have a will. His estate (which is a legal word that just means “everything you own at the time of your death”) is already worth about $1.4 million. Because he died in an accident (his Jeep rolled down the driveway and killed him), that estate will increase in value due to a likely wrongful death lawsuit. Also included in his estate are any rights to residuals, which could turn out to be substantial.

A few observations:

  • We are all mortal. Although it is not likely that someone in their 20s in good health will pass away, it does happen.
  • If you do not have a plan, your state will create one for you. In this case, his parents will inherit his assets, which may or may not be what he would have wanted. Here’s the point: we won’t ever know that for sure because he never wrote a will. Would he have wanted to honor or support a loved one? A charity?
  • Having no estate plan is especially bad in California. A basic living trust prepared by an attorney costs $3,000 to $5,000 and avoids probate. Now, his estate will have to go through probate and his parents will pay a percentage of the gross value of the estate. In his case, at least $27,000.

Bottom line: if you own something and have someone in your life that you care about or who cares about you, you need to have an estate plan in place. We can help. Call Learned Lawyer today!


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