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Late celebrity chef's beneficiaries could be up for dispute

It can be difficult for Texans - even those with significant assets and wealth - to compare themselves to famous people and their estate plans. However, important lessons can be gleaned when examining the legal issues that often surround a celebrity and their estate after death. Complicated factors often muddy the water with these individuals and it makes the distribution of assets, the organization of their wills, the determination of beneficiaries and other factors a topic of discussion. Such is the case with the late chef, television host and author, Anthony Bourdain.

Mr. Bourdain, who died in early June at age 61, is the subject of analysis as to how his estate will be divided. His estate plan had a trust fund that designated his 11-year-old daughter as the main beneficiary. His estranged wife was named as the executor. He also left his wife many items that could be of substantial value including vehicles, books, furniture and his frequent flier miles. One problem with this situation is that the couple's divorce was never completed.

Since the divorce was not finalized, his wife might have the ability to receive an elective share of the assets despite not having been prominently named in the document. His estate was assessed to be as high as $16 million, but documents suggest that this is an exaggeration and it was worth far less. His wife might get as much as one-third if she chooses to take this road. Also, his daughter was not accorded protection from his creditors based on the way the estate plan was structured.

These potential problems with Mr. Bourdain's estate emphasize how important it is to consider all the various factors that might come up. For assistance with a legal document that covers all the bases, having help from a law firm that specializes in estate administration is key.

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