Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dying Pains

Alan Thicke’s sons, who are trustees of his 2016 trust, filed suit this week against his widow, Tanya Callau. They asked a court to enforce the terms of Thicke’s trust. They contend that Callau, who Thicke married in 2005, is trying to void the terms of the pre-nuptial agreement she and Thicke signed.

The pre-nup provided that at Thicke's death Callau would receive 25% of his estate and 5 acres of a ranch Thicke owned. The trust meanwhile provides that Callau will receive a $500K insurance policy, his pension benefits, and 40% of his estate. If Callau wants to live in the house, she may do so if she pays the mortgage and other expenses. Despite these generous terms, Callau’s attorney claims that the trust is “the worst document ever drafted by an attorney” and “the attorneys should still be writing in crayons.”

Trying to piece together several points:

1. The terms of a trust can override the terms of a pre-nuptial agreement if the trust terms are more generous than what is provided in the pre-nup. That seems to be the case here.

2. The claims by Callau’s attorney about the quality of the trust drafting are obnoxious, but a trust typically would not address insurance policies and pension benefits because those are non-probate assets (i.e. they have their own beneficiary designation) and not included in a trust.

3. Perhaps the attorney who drafted the trust is the same attorney who advised Robin Thicke to foolishly sue Marvin Gaye's estate over "Blurred Lines" which resulted in a $7.2 million judgment against the younger Thicke.

                                          Photo Credit: Matt Baron/BEI/REX/Shutterstock
                                                                  License:  Fair Use/Education