Only a third of people said they had a will in 2020, one survey found.
Nearly two months after the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, star of films including “Black Panther” and “42,” his wife has filed documents in probate court, according to recent reports.
The celebrity, who succumbed to cancer at the age of 43 in August, died without a will. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, asked to be named an administrator of Boseman’s estate, according to TMZ, which obtained the probate documents. Ledward married Boseman earlier this year after being together for five years. She listed his estate as almost $1 million — $938,500, to be exact, according to Page Six. The documents state Boseman is also survived by his two parents.
The actor, who continued to work even after being diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer in 2016, is far from the first celebrity to die without a will. Prince died without a will — also known as intestate — which caused chaos when numerous people began claiming family ties to the performer. Guitarist Jimi Hendrix also died without a will.
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There are also instances when celebrities haven’t done enough, or the proper, estate planning. Late singer Aretha Franklin allegedly wrote three wills, but some were outdated or had illegible handwriting. The months following the death of Stan Lee, the creator of the Marvel Universe that Boseman played in, were also challenging because of a messy estate plan.
Only a third of people said they had a will in 2020, 24% less than in 2017, according to a Caring.com and YouGov survey of 2,400 people. Older and middle-aged adults were 20% and 25% less likely to have a will this year than last, they said. The reasons? They hadn’t gotten around to it, they didn’t have enough money to leave anyone, it was too expensive to set up or they didn’t know how to go about the process.
While it may seem like a daunting task, creating the right estate plan and filling out the proper documentation is crucial — not just for an individual’s assets after she dies, but also for loved ones left behind. It’s possible to create, improve or update these forms, even during a pandemic — which is yet another example of how important it is to have the right paperwork in place in the event of an unexpected emergency.
Boseman’s death devastated fans around the world, many of whom took home videos and photos of themselves and their children doing the “Wakanda forever” sign, a tribute to the actor and his role in Marvel’s “Black Panther.” The star was beloved for his other films as well, such as when he played baseball legend Jackie Robinson in “42,” musical sensation James Brown in “Get on Up” and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall.”
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” his family said after announcing his death. “It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”