Dividing Larry King’s $50 Million Fortune
King was married eight times to seven different women. In addition to his sons with Shawn, the broadcast legend had three other children. Two of them, Chaia and Andy King, died last year.
King announced his decision to divorce Shawn in 2018 after more than two decades of marriage. Shawn reportedly learned her late husband wanted to end their 22-year marriage from a journalist. After the radio announcer’s filing, reports cropped up about possible reasons for their split. Shawn King denied that their two sons–Cannon, 19, and Chance, 20–pushed their father to file, according to sources. She also publicly scoffed at reports that she was attempting to get at their inheritance.
With such a complicated nuptial history, there’s a chance King’s estate plan is unsettled. If his surviving ex-wives aren’t named in the will, they and their children could get passed over. There is also King’s back catalog of interviews which could be monetized in the future, but it is unclear if he or his media employers owned the rights to his intellectual property.
With such a large fortune at stake, much depends on King’s will, which could prevent his loved ones from having to deal with California’s probate court. However, this often isn’t the case for the average person. Many people don’t have a will at all, and if they suddenly pass away, dividing their estate becomes stressful and complicated.
When California Inheritance Laws Apply
When a person who lives in California dies without a will, their property and estate is distributed according to inheritance laws found in Division 6 of the California Probate Code. California intestate succession laws determine who gets what when you die based on whether it is community property or separate property.
Community vs. Separate Property Distribution
Property purchased or acquired during a marriage is considered joint or community property, even if it is only under the name of one of the parties. Assets you acquired or owned before you got married are separate property (this includes gifts and inheritances you receive when you are married). If you die in California without a will, the state distributes your property as follows:
- You are married with no children and your parents are alive –Your spouse inherits all of your joint property. Your spouse and parents will proportionally split your separate property.
- You have children but are not married – Your children will inherit all of your assets proportionately. For example, if you have three living children, each would inherit a third share of your estate.
- You are married and have children – Your spouse inherits all of your joint property. The separate property will be divided equally between your spouse and children.
- You have no children, spouse, or siblings, but your parents are alive – Your parents will receive all your assets.
- You have living siblings but no children or spouse – Your surviving siblings will inherit all your assets proportionately.
- You are married and have living siblings, but no children or living parents – Your spouse inherits all of your community property and splits your separate property with your siblings.
California inheritance laws do not provide rights of inheritance for stepchildren. If the deceased has no surviving heirs, his/her property will escheat to the state.
Avoiding Inheritance Issues in California Probate Court
If you want to save your family the stress of dealing with probate court after your death, have a will drafted to ensure your assets are passed down automatically. A People’s Choice can help you draft your estate planning documents, complete and file your will, trust, or other legal forms at a fraction of the cost of an attorney. Contact us today and let us help you so you can rest easy knowing your loved ones will have one less thing to worry about in the event of your untimely death.