Chadwick Boseman, the actor behind Marvel Comic’s titular character in Black Panther, died earlier this year at the age of 43. Doctors diagnosed Boseman with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and he battled it in secret as it progressed to a terminal, stage IV diagnosis. Despite having four years to determine how to divide his estate, he did not execute a will. So, what is to happen with his estimated $12 million estate?
When someone dies without a will or some other estate plan in place, their assets pass via “intestate succession”. Simply put, intestacy laws are state statutes that substitute for a will when someone dies without one. The North Carolina intestacy statute can be found here. If Boseman was unmarried and living in North Carolina at the time of his death, his entire estate would have been equally divided between his parents (Leroy and Carolyn Boseman of Belton, SC), since he did not have any children and even though he had one or more siblings.
However, Boseman married his longtime girlfriend, Simone Ledward, months before his passing and, as a surviving spouse, she is entitled to inherit his entire estate. Ledward sought appointment as the administrator of his estate last week in California and listed its value at approximately $938,500. Only probate assets are identified in the estate filings, however, and it is likely Boseman transferred the majority of his assets to private trusts.
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