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James Dean, an iconic actor in the 1950s, died in a tragic car accident in 1955. After his father abandoned him as a baby, James Dean was raised by his aunt and uncle.
At the time of his death, James Dean had no estate plan. Under California’s law of succession, because James Dean had no will or estate plan, his father was entitled to his estate.
Under California’s intestacy law, when you die without a will or any estate plan, your estate goes to your closest living relative. For James Dean, his closest living relative by bloodline was his father. Dean’s estate generates about 1-3 million annually through the licensing of his likeness, all of which goes to his father, who abandoned James as a child. Had James Dean properly set up a Will, he most likely would have given his estate to his aunt and uncle, who raised and cared for him.
Don’t repeat James Dean’s mistake. Set up an estate plan today, so that your assets go to family members or friends you love and have a relationship with.