Choreographer and producer Stephen Boss passed away on December 13, 2022, without a Will. He is survived by wife, Allison Holker and three minor children, Weslie, Maddox and Zaia.
In February 2023, because Stephen did not have a Will, his wife Allison Holker filed a California Spousal Property Petition to prove that she was entitled to half of the property that was accumulated during their marriage while Stephen was alive. According to the Petition, this included half of his earnings from his shares of Stephen Boss Productions, Inc., half of his interest in a Goldman Sachs investment account, half of his interest in royalties from Cast and Crew Production Services, and half of his interest in royalties from Disney Worldwide Services, Inc.
Under California law, a surviving spouse is entitled to half their spouse’s joint estate once they are deceased, absent a prenuptial or post nuptial agreement modifying their interests.
So, the question remains who has the right title and interest to the other half of these assets? Because there was no Will and presumably no trust, the laws of California intestacy will prevail and a Probate Petition for the other half of his estate will need to be filed with the California Superior Court in the County where he resided. If Stephen has no other children, his three minor children will receive 2/3 of the other half of his estate and his wife will receive 1/3 of the other half under the California laws of intestate succession.
Additionally, the children will most likely need to be separately and independently represented by legal counsel apart from their mother’s legal counsel. This is all quite unfortunate because at the age of eighteen these children may have access to a small fortune of which they could do quite some damage to themselves. Their mother will most likely be appointed the conservator for each of their inherited estates until they each reach the age of eighteen.
However, if he or he and his wife had set up a revocable trust, they could have had provisions to plan for estate taxes, as well as protection of their minor children in the event of death. Many married couples leave their estate to their spouse in further trust and when the spouse passes, the property goes onto their children often in a protected way. This is typically through a continuing trust that springs from the trust document that helps provide provisions for payment of estate taxes as well as creditor protection for the beneficiaries. It also helps to insulate a young beneficiary from harming themselves with the property left to them or squandering it.
If you or a friend or family member would like avoid these pitfalls by setting up an estate plan or updating an existing estate plan, please reach out to our law firm at 760-448-2220, or contact us on our website contact page at https://www.geigerlawoffice.com/contact.cfm.