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Gary Coleman's estate decided by a judge, rules against ex-wife

Last week, we told you about childhood actor Gary Coleman's estate battle that was being fought in court between the actor's ex-wife and his ex-girlfriend. We learned this week that the judge has ruled against the actor's ex-wife in regards to who should receive his estate. The actor allegedly hand wrote a note, amending his will, which would have favored his ex-wife. The odd wording of the amendment along with other evidence of abuse led the judge to rule against his ex-wife.

Although the estate of the deceased actor was quite small considering he was once a Hollywood star, it is still important that his will be carried out the way he would have wanted. Obviously no judge can read a person's mind, or know exactly what a person would have wanted, so they use evidence and hear the sides of both parties that might be involved and make a decision at their discretion. These types of estate litigation could be avoided with a legitimate will.

People who want a claim to an estate may try to present documents or arguments to have a judge rule in their favor. Complicating the estate of Gary Coleman was the timing of the making of the will, the amendment, the divorce from his ex-wife, and the fact that they still lived together after divorce.

A lesson that can be learned from Gary Coleman's estate lawsuit is that it is better to be safe than sorry. If there is a change in your marital status, a beneficiary on your first will dies, or another change that might cause confusion regarding any part of your estate plan, it might be wise to speak with an estate planning attorney.

Source: Trial and Heirs, "Court Rules Against Gary Colemans Ex, Finds She Abused And Cheated On Him," May 21, 2012

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