Inheritance disputes can be common when someone dies without leaving a will. This is particularly true when the deceased is famous or left behind a considerable fortune.
Despite the problems that arise when a person dies intestate, there have been many celebrities who passed away without completing the estate planning process. Here are some of the most well known names, as well as what happened to their assets once they died.
The Jamaican singer-songwriter died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 36. While he was aware he had the disease, sources suggest his Rastafarian beliefs prevented him from writing a will. Marley’s estate continues to generate millions of dollars each year, but it has also been at the centre of many inheritance disputes since his death.
In his early years, Hughes was known for his skills in aviation, filmmaking and engineering, but the eccentric billionaire eventually developed an obsessive-compulsive disorder and secluded himself away from the public. His $2.5 billion estate was eventually distributed between 22 cousins after a judge ruled him to have died intestate.
Former US President Abraham Lincoln died without a will when he was assassinated in 1865. Lincoln, who abolished slavery during his time in office, may be considered a surprising candidate for dying intestate, as he had been a lawyer. Nevertheless, his assets were divided between his surviving wife and children.
The Swedish author is best known for writing the Millennium trilogy of books, starting with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in 2005. Larsson died of a heart attack in 2004, one year before his first novel was published and the series became a global best seller. His estate went to his brother and father, while his long-time partner Eva Gabrielsson received nothing because they weren’t married.