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Review of former astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s estate planning dispute

Many Illinois residents are old enough to remember Apollo 11 and the excitement that rang throughout the country when former astronaut, Buzz Aldrin and his team members walked on the moon for the first time. Aldrin recently told a reporter that although he recalls what is was like to gaze at the moon in anticipation of such an event, it is all behind him now. Aldrin acquired many assets through the years and sadly, he, his sons and a former business manager became entangled in an estate  planning dispute.

It took a while, but the dispute has now been settled. It may be helpful to those who are currently facing similar challenges to review the main facts that were central focuses in the Aldrin case. First, an estate owner’s mental capacity is often a critical factor.

Any will, trust or other estate document must be signed by an estate owner who is of sound mind. That was a central issue in Aldrin’s case. His sons and former manager claimed he was suffering from mental decline due to Alzheimer’s disease. Aldrin, on the other hand, adamantly held that he was perfectly coherent and able to act on his own behalf. He filed a complaint that his sons and former business manager had made themselves de facto guardians.

Not only is it important to exercise caution when it comes to choosing trustees, it is equally important to make sure incapacitation is clearly defined in an estate plan. Aldrin fought against his family to regain control of his assets. He sought confirmation from two licensed physicians to attest to his competency, but the court records regarding the matter have been sealed. Aldrin’s case has since been settled out of court, and he says he looks forward to seeing his family and friends at an upcoming gala to honor the anniversary of Apollo 11.  Anyone in Illinois facing similar problems may want to request an immediate consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.

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