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Stieg Larsson: finished the books, forgot the will

The author of the Millennium trilogy died before his first novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was published. Stieg Larsson left behind at least four novels when he died of a heart attack at the age of 50, but he failed author the most important document of all: his will.

Estate planning is essential for adults of all ages. We have seen many promising young athletes die at early ages and even professionals such as Stieg Larsson can have unexpected medical issues. Larsson died of a sudden heart attack in 2004 leaving behind a common-law wife of 32 years and a lot of unnecessary strife.

Larsson's legacy changed dramatically after his death. His novels were finally published and sold over 50 million copies. The books were then turned into smash Swedish movies and now Hollywood is remaking the Swedish box office charters. Posthumous awards are not the only thing the author has inspired however, there is a significant amount of strife between Larsson's longtime common-law wife and the executors of Larsson's estate.

Larsson died without a will and his common-law wife had no legal rights to the administration of his estate or a share of the funds from his novels. Larsson's estranged father and brother are now in charge of administering his estate and there's a well publicized feud between the estate and the common-law wife, who has possession of Larsson's unpublished fourth novel.

All of this could have been prevented with a simple will and a bit of estate planning. It is important even for crime novelists not to leave their legacy unwritten.

Source: Trial and Heirs, "The Author who played with Fire," Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Jan. 28, 2012

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