A few weeks ago, we discussed how Luke Perry took steps to protect his family in the event that he passed away. Today, we’ll take a look at another celebrity who passed away last month, that being soap opera television star Kristoff St. John. Originally, it was reported that the Young and the Restless star passed away with no will. A recent development, however, may prove otherwise. With this development, the family could now face a long, drawn out probate process.
Reported by The Grio, Kristoff’s daughter Paris St. John filed paperwork to become administrator of her father’s estate believing there was no will. By becoming the administrator over her father’s estate, she would have authority to distribute the probate assets pursuant to the statutory provisions which stipulate a 50/50 split between Kristoff’s daughters.
A new report from The Blast, however, seems to indicate the paperwork have been for naught. According to the report published March 25, Kristoff may have a handwritten will known as a “holographic will” that is dated August 12, 2017. A valid holographic will is a will that’s handwritten in the person’s own writing and signed, but no witnesses are required.
According to this will, Kristoff’s assets would be split 75/25 between his daughters Lola and Paris, respectively. The will also has a somewhat out of context note, in what we are speculating may be different handwriting. The note states that Kristoff’s father must provide $100,000 to Lola immediately.
The Perplexity of the Will
This in itself is somewhat odd. Paris’ paperwork indicates that the estate is valued at $122k. Does the 100k become a specific bequest to pay to Lola first? Where is this 100k? In what format will this be paid out? Is it through a check previously delivered by Kristoff? Is the check valid or void? Also, did this action actually create a trust for Lola? There are so many questions that can be asked and even more potential outcomes.
In addition to the confusing terms of the will, Kristoff wants his father to be the executor of his estate. Because of this, his father has filed the late actor’s “holographic will” with the court, asking to take over the estate, effective immediately. The will, however, is going to come under review.
A Will Under Scrutiny?
In Kristoff’s case, taking a closer look at the will, you may notice that the handwriting differs in sections. Of note as well, some items were crossed out on the will and written over. No doubt, such things may be objected to in court and subject to more scrutiny. Perhaps nobody would want to object more than Paris, who stands to lose out if the will is accepted by the court.
Holographic wills such as Kristoff’s too often result in prolonging the probate process and creating unnecessary drama amongst beneficiaries. In fact, it can be argued that having no will at all is better, because there are clear statutory provisions for distribution of the assets. With room for dispute, the potential for family drama is always lingering. With potential family drama comes strained relationships with people you may be close with. That’s not how you want things to go down.
Here at The Probate ProSM, we want to protect you and the people you care about. We work with our clients on wills, to make sure that there is no process in probate that goes longer than expected. We also want to make sure that everyone is cooperating with each other in this very sensitive matter. If you or someone you know may need estate planning, guardianship or conservatorship services, give us a call at 1-(877)-YOUR-FIRM.