When Californians don’t have an estate plan, there’s the chance that people whom they wouldn’t want to have any authority to administer their estate may petition to do so. The case of a former television actor is evidence of this.
Mark Salling, who appeared in the TV show “Glee,” hung himself earlier this year. This suicide came shortly before he was scheduled to be sentenced to up to seven years in prison on child pornography charges. The 35-year-old actor had pleaded guilty to possession of child porn. He was arrested in late 2015.
Salling’s ex-girlfriend petitioned the Los Angeles Superior Court to administer his estate. Her petition asked that she be given “limited authority (and) that she not have authority to take possession of money or property without a court order.”
The woman claims that the estate owes her $2.7 million for a settlement she reached with Salling. She claimed that he had forced her to engage in unprotected sex.
It has not been reported how much the estate is worth. In her petition, she stated that she didn’t know.
The LA Superior Court judge handling the case ruled that the woman had provided “insufficient” evidence that she had a right to act as an administrator of the estate. The judge did say that she could petition the court again if she chose to.
As part of his plea deal, Salling agreed to pay $50,000 to each of his victims. Since authorities reportedly found some 500 videos and 25,000 images in his possession, these could number in the thousands. However, it’s not certain whether victims who came forward could collect on that agreement since Salling died before he was sentenced.
Most Californians’ estates aren’t this mired in conflict. However, if you want a say in how your assets are distributed and who will oversee the process, it’s essential to put an estate plan in place. An experienced California estate planning attorney can provide important guidance.
Source: NBC 4 Los Angeles, “Judge Shuts Down Ex-Girlfriend’s Bid to Handle ‘Glee’ Star’s Estate,” April 12, 2018