Estate Planning Dispute Likely after Famed Musician’s Death

For Georgia residents and people across the United States, estate planning can be a frequent source of disagreement, especially when there are significant assets involved. If the parties are wealthy and prominent, it can make the situation exponentially more complicated. Such is the case with the recently deceased musician Ric Ocasek and his wife, model Paulina Porizkova.

Mr. Ocasek died in September. He and Ms. Porizkova had been married for three decades, but there is a potential court battle after he signed a new will not long before his death. The new document eliminates her spousal rights due to her alleged abandonment. A divorce was initiated in May 2018. The general procedure regarding an estate plan during a divorce is that it will stay in effect under the assumption that the couple was still married and the estate rights remain in place.

The new will was made prior to Mr. Ocasek having a surgical procedure. In addition to excluding Ms. Porizkova, two of his six children were also omitted. The couple lived in New York. A key notation in the will is that he was abandoned and this impacts her elective share. The laws are similar in most states and in New York, the spouse will have the right to get part of the estate regardless of being disinherited. However, abandonment can eliminate the election rights.

Ms. Porizkova claims the couple was still on friendly terms. Considering the financial ramifications with known assets of $1.7 million, plus $5 million worth of copyrights, a dispute is likely regarding the allegation of abandonment. When creating or updating an estate plan, the circumstances can be complex. Those who are moving forward with estate planning or updating their estate plan may benefit from having legal advice from an experienced attorney.

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