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Estate administration can take a nasty turn when families fight

When a man or woman writes a will, it is no doubt their hope to leave enriching gifts to those whom they held most dear in life. Unfortunately, once a person has passed on, he or she has no control over what his or her relatives do. Estate administration can become lengthy and unpleasant when descendants squabble over the estate, as one celebrity family is proving right now.

Ontario native Alan Thicke passed away in Dec. 2016 and left behind a sizable estate divided between his three sons and his third wife. The three boys each received an equal share of Thicke's ranch and are to split 75 percent of his personal items and 60 percent of what remains of the estate. To his widow, he bequeathed the furnishings at the ranch, the balance of his personal effects and estate, a $500,000 life insurance policy and his various death benefits. She is also allowed to continue to live at the ranch, provided she pays to maintain the property.

Thicke's two eldest sons, who are co-trustees of the deceased's living trust, are going to court to battle his widow as she attempts to wrest more of the estate away from them. She claims the prenuptial agreement she signed is riddled with flaws and would not hold up to legal scrutiny. The former Brazilian actress says she has significant community property rights due to improvements made to the ranch during their marriage, and that she put her career on hold to further that of her husband and to help raise his youngest son, now 19 years old.

Complicated family dynamics can sometimes explode after the one person holding everything together is gone. Claims, some legitimate and some less so, may come forth to interrupt the process of estate administration. Whether one is the executor, a trustee or a disgruntled heir, a conversation with an Ontario estate lawyer may help to clarify a messy situation.

Source: startsat60.com, "Battle of wills over Alan Thicke's estate", May 17, 2017

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