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Dear Mama: I Should Have Had An Estate Plan



Makaveli75 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Tupac perhaps regreting that he never created his estate plan?                                               Drawing by Makaveli75 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Tupac is back in the news (although maybe he never really left) and it’s not because of his (non-existent) well drafted estate plan. He famously appeared via hologram at a concert. A biopic entitled ‘All Eyez On Me’ is slated to be released this year. And in ongoing family drama, Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mom and the subject of the incredibly touching song Dear Mama, is now going through a messy divorce where her share of Tupac’s estate may be at stake.

What most people don’t know (or remember, if you’re a millenial) is that Tupac died intestate, leaving no will or estate plan of any kind. As fans of the legendary rapper would know, Tupac’s father was missing from his life. Yet when it came to distributing his estate, his father demanded his share. Under normal circumstances, parents of the deceased are intestate heirs if the deceased had no wife or children.

But the California Probate Code states that a parent who left a child without attempts at support or communication for at least seven consecutive years will be presumed to have abandoned the child. A parent who abandons a child (per the legal definition) will be considered to have pre-deceased the child for the purposes of intestacy. In plain English, that parent gets nothing from the deceased child’s estate. Tupac’s father was out of luck.

What could Tupac have done to make things easier on Mama? Create an estate plan! An estate plan created by an estate planning attorney would have handled complicated issues such as control over his likeness and his unreleased works as well as simple issues such as specifically leaving out his father. This would have made the process of gaining control over Tupac’s legacy so much easier for Mama Shakur.

An estate plan includes at the very least a will, a Power of Attorney for financial matters, and an Advanced Health Care Directive (also called a living will). Depending on the nature of your family, assets, and values, you may very well also need a living trust. Come and talk to us today at Norton Basu LLP. We can help you with a complete estate plan that will protect your Mama, your sisters and your friends too.

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