Even if you die with a will in place, it still may not be enough. Your loved ones may find themselves involved in a dispute over your life’s work. They may have the best of intentions, but still believe that they are entitled to a bigger piece of the pie than what is stated in your estate planning documents.
This is why it is vital for you to have an estate planning attorney who understands the importance of a properly executed estate plan. The experienced attorneys at TuckerAllen understand that an improperly executed estate plan could be declared unenforceable under the law. Your estate planning attorney can counsel you on the best language and clauses to include in your will or other estate planning documents, in order to properly enact the outcome you desire.
Even in settled estates, the desired outcome is not always as settled as you have thought. For the estate of former lead vocalist of the rock bands, Soundgarden and Audioslave, Chris Cornell, the dispute can be reignited at any point.
Mr. Cornell committed suicide May 18, 2017, after battling depression and substance abuse for many years.
According to the terms of his 2004 divorce with his, then-wife, Susan Silver, Mr. Cornell would pay the college expenses of their daughter, Lilly. The money was placed in a trust, and the money was doled out as needed.
According to TMZ, Lilly enrolled in a California college last year, and the trust paid her $21,000 tuition for each semester. However, after the first week of instruction in the second semester, Lilly allegedly dropped out.
This claim is being disputed, as she states that she took a temporary leave of absence to tend to her mental and emotional health, according to Entertainment Tonight Canada. She claims that it was a temporary postponement of her education.
When Lilly went to file a claim with Mr. Cornell’s estate in the probate cases, asking for the money to cover her continued education, the representative for the estate objected to the claim.
The representative of the estate is Vicky Karayiannis, Mr. Cornell’s widow, and the sole beneficiary listed in the last will and testament, as well as the Cornell family trust. When the second semester payment was being made, Ms. Karayiannis put in a call to the college, only to find out that Lily was no longer an enrolled student.
According to the reports, Ms. Karayiannis is not demanding the return of the tuition money, but maintains that no more payments will be made until there is proof that Lilly is back in school.
Ms. Karayiannis released a statement through her lawyer, Marty Singer, that they are “shocked that Lilly filed a claim in probate court since for over two years, Vicky with no legal obligation to do so, paid all of Chris’ remaining child support, despite it being questionable Vicky even owed the same, as well as 80 percent of the required educational expenses for Lilly, including a request by Lilly to pay college tuition this semester when she failed to disclose that she had dropped out.”
Her statement contradicts a simultaneous legal action occurring, where Ms. Silver is claiming that she is owed both child support and a percentage of Mr. Cornell’s royalties. Ms. Karayiannis has been seeking to dismiss them or settle these issues outside the courtroom, according to The Blast.
No matter how much or how little money you may have, there is a chance that someone may dispute a claim. Before any of the fighting between your loved ones begins, you need to make your wishes clear before your death.
You need to help them understand what you want and why you want it. By stopping the fighting before it begins, you can save your loved ones heartache and money just by communicating your wishes.
Regardless of your age, your loved ones should be able to respect the choices that you make in your estate plan. While it is understandable that they would want to feel included, the inclusion of too many creates a sense of competition that can be harmful to decisions being made and your wishes being realized.
In order to ensure that your wishes are realized to the best of your abilities, contact TuckerAllen.