Widely admired—and loved—, actor Chadwick Boseman was only 43 years old when he died in 2020 after a battle with colon cancer. While his estate was valued at nearly $4 million when he died, settling his estate proved costly in terms of time and money: loved ones are just now evenly splitting the remaining $2.5 million.
Life Is Unpredictable
Chadwick Boseman, best known for his starring role in Black Panther, battled colon cancer, privately, from about 2016 on. When he lost his battle, he did not have a will, so his widow, Simone Ledward-Boseman and parents had to bring closure to his affairs and settle his estate. Doing so, took time and money, ultimately resulting in a diminished estate. As Black Enterprise further reports:
Ledward-Boseman, who was in control of settling the estate, filed documents that took account of all expenses following her husband’s death. She has since asked to be reimbursed about $50,000 for all the funeral costs, including the purchase of two mausoleum crypts for Boseman’s parents Leroy and Carolyn, to be laid to rest alongside their son at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Anderson, South Carolina… Per the source, Boseman’s company Chadwick Boseman, Inc. additionally owed a tax bill worth $51,000. Another chunk of the money went to the probate case, in a bond totaling $900,000.
Preventing Excess Stress
While most families will participate in their state’s probate process upon the death of a loved one, delays, complications, and costs can be avoided through attention to estate planning when the gift of time is still on our side. Indeed, lawyers remind us that having assets—and debts—even when modest, means it is important to leave our loved ones prepared to deal with them when we die. As estate planning experts emphasize:“Estate plans are not only for the rich and older generations… Having a basic estate plan can prepare for incapacity and ensure your assets pass to your family and friends at your death…As you…advance in your career, and possibly start a family, you can update your estate plan as needed. The key is preparing your estate plan before you need one.”
When you develop an estate plan, you will make an important decision about naming a loved one, friend or professional to serve as the fiduciary who will steward your plans in accordance with the intentions set forth in, estate planning documents, like a will or trust agreement. This person is generally referred to as an executor, trustee, or personal representative, depending on the circumstances and location. Though sometimes waived, an estate bond can play an important role in reinforcing the intentions set forth in an estate plan. Long a tradition in wealth transfer, an estate bond protects the interests of the estate and its beneficiaries in accordance with state law. Sometimes these bonds are referred to as fiduciary, executor or trustee bonds. At Colonial, estate and other bonds are available directly and digitally. The steps to obtaining an estate bond are easy: get a quote online, fill out the information, and enter a payment method. Print or e-file the bond right from anywhere—even the law office.
Good To Know: Probate in a Nutshell
Ordinarily, probate is simply the legal, public process that settles our affairs when we die. Most states offer expedited processes depending upon the level of assets involved. Unpaid taxes, debts, conflicts among family members or contested wills are examples of issues that cause complexities and delays during probate. Barring these snags, the probate process commonly takes a few months to a year. Fundamentals of probate, as include:
- proving in court that a deceased person’s will is valid (usually a routine matter)
- identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property
- having the property appraised
- paying debts and taxes, and
- distributing the remaining property as the will (or state law, if there’s no will) directs.
While most families will participate in their state’s probate process upon the death of a loved one, probate litigation will hopefully be avoided. As New Jersey attorney Christine Matus explains: “Probate litigation is the judicial process of challenging provisions or resolving perceived injustices, errors, or objections regarding the will or trust of a loved one. The role of a probate litigation attorney is to help their clients address concerns about the estate, the provisions of a will or trust, estate administration, and many others.”
Colonial Surety helps busy lawyers and their clients navigate estate planning and probate with a fully digital, user-friendly fiduciary bond portfolio. Available bonds include: administrator, estate, executor, guardian, personal representative, probate, surrogate, trustee, conservator and more. We have a full array of court bonds too.
In addition to providing estate and other fiduciary bonds directly to the general public, Colonial offers The Partnership Account® for Attorneys . This free business service provides efficient client management dashboards, enabling attorneys to easily coordinate, view, complete and e-file the court and fiduciary bonds clients need. See for yourself today: The Partnership Account® for Attorneys.
Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a direct writer of surety bonds and insurance products. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company, U.S. Treasury listed, and licensed for business everywhere in the USA.