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Trusts: Dispute between Alan Thicke's children and wife

The unexpected loss of a loved one is the worst nightmare of many families in Georgia. Even in situations where the loved one has planned ahead and created trusts -- for example, to help explain their wishes in regard to the division of their estate -- confusion over the person's wishes due to perceived contradictions in legal documents can create even more stress for family members. Unfortunately, reports indicate that the oldest sons of Alan Thicke are involved in an estate dispute with Thicke's wife.

Thicke passed away unexpectedly in Dec. 2016 of a heart attack while playing hockey with his youngest son. Since his death, his oldest sons, who serve as the executors of his living trust, have filed a petition in court to clarify the interplay between the prenuptial agreement signed by Thicke and his wife in 2005 and instructions left in his trust which had been updated in 2016. The sons accuse the woman of overreaching and greed, while she claims she is only seeking to ensure that Thicke's estate is divided according to his wishes.

According to reports, the home that the couple shared was listed as Thicke's personal property. The prenuptial agreement is said to have promised that his will would leave his wife 25 percent of his estate, to include 5 acres of the couple's ranch. However, the trust only allows her to live on her property if she pays all of its expenses.

Estate disputes between wives and children from a previous relationship are not uncommon. While measures such as trusts can help prevent a successful challenge of an estate plan, taking additional steps can also help. For example, a frank conversation with family members can help ensure that there is no confusion regarding one's wishes. While many people in Georgia create a trust to avoid the public nature of probate, once a petition is filed with the court, the dispute typically becomes public.

Source: Forbes, "Robin Thicke Battles His Dad's Third Wife Over Estate", Ashlea Ebeling, May 17, 2017

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