Food fans in Illinois and the world over were recently shocked and saddened by the news of Culinary TV star Anthony Bourdain’s sudden and unexpected death. Sadness was intensified when reports surfaced that he committed suicide. Now, Bourdain’s family is back in the news, as questions and complications have arisen regarding his wills and trusts.
Bourdain was survived by an 11-year-old daughter. His estate plan included monies that had been placed in trust for her. The funds are scheduled to be dispersed as she reaches specified ages. Some estate planning analysts say it is better to give an inheritance in one lump sum as opposed to scheduled trust disbursements. That may not be the most pressing matter regarding Bourdain’s estate, however.
It seems his divorce was not yet finalized when he died. While he did leave his then-wife various assets, such as furniture and frequent flyer miles, she was not a main beneficiary in his estate. Since their divorce was not finalized, she may indeed be able to claim up to one third of his estate by means of a surviving spouse’s right of election.
Since Bourdain’s daughter is a minor, the court will appoint someone to manage her trust, because her father did not include this provision in his estate plan. Illinois estate laws may vary from those of other states. What’s most important is that, regardless of what state someone lives in, clear understanding of the estate planning process is necessary if one hopes to accomplish certain goals. To avoid serious complications with wills and trusts, most people rely on experienced legal support.