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On August 28, 2020, the world mourned the loss of the talented actor Chadwick Boseman, best known for his iconic portrayal of “Black Panther.” As fans celebrated his remarkable talent, it was revealed that Boseman had passed away without a will, a situation known as dying “intestate.” This unfortunate circumstance highlights the critical need for individuals, regardless of their wealth or status, to establish a Trust and engage in comprehensive estate planning. Let us delve deeper into the reasons why starting a trust now is crucial.

The Consequences of Dying Intestate:

Chadwick Boseman’s passing without a will meant that his estate information became public, exposing sensitive details about his assets and family to anyone. Without a clear plan in place, California’s intestate laws dictated how his assets would be distributed, potentially resulting in outcomes that did not align with his intentions. Furthermore, the probate process can take over 12 months and incur significant costs, approximately 8% of the estate’s value, including attorney fees, court expenses, and executor compensation. These expenses do not directly benefit Boseman’s family. Establishing a trust could have spared his loved ones from these financial burdens and ensured a smoother transfer of assets.

Understanding Trusts:

A trust is a legal document that outlines how your assets will be managed and distributed after your passing. By creating a trust, you can bypass the probate process, thus saving your loved ones from delays, expenses, and public scrutiny. As the grantor, you have control over the terms of the trust, including the timing and conditions for asset distribution to beneficiaries. Here are some key benefits of establishing a trust:

1. Avoiding Probate Costs

By placing assets in a trust, you can sidestep the expenses associated with probate, ensuring a prompt and efficient transfer of inheritance to your loved ones.

2. Ensuring Privacy

A trust safeguards the confidentiality of your estate settlement. Without a trust, personal information about your assets and family becomes public, potentially jeopardizing their privacy and security.

3. Preserving Your Wishes

Creating a will as part of your trust plan allows you to clearly articulate your final wishes regarding the distribution of assets, property, and personal belongings. This helps minimize confusion and potential conflicts among beneficiaries.

4. Avoiding Intestacy Laws

Dying without a will subjects your estate to the laws of intestacy, which may distribute assets according to predefined rules that may not align with your intentions. Having a will in place empowers you to specify who should inherit your assets, ensuring your legacy reflects your values and desires.

5. Financial Planning and Tax Efficiency

Estate planning involves more than just asset distribution; it encompasses considerations of tax efficiency and financial planning. By working with trustees or financial advisors, you can explore strategies to minimize estate taxes and manage your assets in alignment with your long-term financial goals.


Chadwick Boseman’s unfortunate situation serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of estate planning, regardless of age or financial status. Creating a Trust and establishing a comprehensive will is not a morbid act, but rather a responsible and considerate step toward protecting your loved ones and preserving your legacy. Failing to plan can lead to complications, delays, and disputes that may disrupt your intended legacy. By proactively engaging in estate planning, you can ensure your final wishes are honored, your loved ones are protected, and your legacy lives on as a testament to your values and aspirations.

Let Chadwick Boseman’s story inspire us to take action and make our own estate plans, securing a lasting impact long after we are gone.

Ready to plan for your future? Contact ARM Trustees today at or email

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