By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Being a huge Marvel Comics fan, I was saddened to hear of the death of Chadwick Boseman. Boseman played the character Black Panther in the Marvel movie world. He was a gifted actor and with the stories that are now coming out he also appears to have been a caring and generous human being as well.

However, despite being larger than life, I was stunned, and somewhat amazed, to learn that Boseman died without having a written last will and testament. The star’s widow, Taylor Ledward, filed probate documents in California asking to be appointed as the administrator of Boseman’s estate. Under California law, Ledward was required to file the documents in probate court specifically because Boseman didn’t leave a written will.

A last will and testament is a very basic estate planning document that gives you the ability to appoint or nominate a person to act as your personal representative after you pass away. This person is given legal authority to protect and preserve all the property of the estate, deal with the creditors of the person who passed away, and then distribute the estate in the way the deceased person indicated they wanted it to be distributed.

When no written will exists, then the laws of intestacy control who can be appointed as a personal representative. Additionally, the intestacy laws also defined who the beneficiaries of the decedent are. In other words, if you don’t have a written will then you lose the ability to control who will be in charge of your estate and who will receive the money, property, and other assets from your estate.

Additionally, a written will gives you the ability to leave other instructions as well. For instance, if you have minor-aged children, you have the ability to nominate who you want appointed as the guardian of your children. Additionally, you can make provisions in your written will for a testamentary trust that will receive all the money, property, and other assets from your estate and then will use those items to care for and provide for your young children.

In other words, when you have a written will, you are in complete control of your estate following your death. However, if you do not have a written will, then the statutes control both the administration and the distribution of your estate. For this reason, and many other important reasons, we encourage everyone to create their own estate plan which includes a written will.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Estate-planning is really hard when you don’t know where to start. Well, don’t worry, we do our best to make the process easy. By downloading and using our free Estate Planning Questionnaire you have a document that makes gathering all your information and listing your instructions easy. This is the best way to start.

After you fill out the estate planning questionnaire, you can then schedule a free 30-minute consultation where we can go over your information with you and answer your specific questions. During this consultation we also talk with you about all the options and choices that you have in a way that’s easy for you to understand so you can make some decisions about what it is you want to accomplish with your estate plan.

Black Panther may have been nearly invincible on screen, but everyone needs a plan. Our goal is to make it simple and easy for you to make your own plan for you and your loved ones. Contact us today.


If you have any questions about your estate or how to simplify your plans for your family and loved ones, we can help.  Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Pocatello. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Pocatello estate planning problems. I have helped numerous clients create their own customized estate plans and I’m confident that I can help you too.

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