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Family members in the thick of an estate dispute

Estate planning is meant to clarify the distribution of assets following the death of a loved one. Without those proactive steps, already grieving loved ones may find themselves in serious disputes over money and property.

Yet, even the most well-prepared and enforceable estate plans can still devolve into inter-family chaos.

Best known for the 1980’s sitcom “Growing Pains,” Alan Thicke played a devoted husband and loving father in a family who had their share of problems. Yet, regardless of whatever issues arose early in an episode, disputes were resolved before the closing credits rolled.

Thicke died suddenly in December at the age of 69, but not without a detailed estate plan for his children and spouse.

Thicke left each of his three sons equal shares in his ranch, 75 percent of his personal effects and 60 percent of the remaining estate. Callau Thicke, his third wife, was left the ranch’s furnishings, 25 percent of his personal effects, a $500,000 life insurance policy, all of his death benefits from pensions and union memberships and 40 percent of his remaining estate.

Yet, even with these specific instructions, his two sons find themselves involved in a battle with their father’s widow over his multi-million dollar estate.

Robin and Brennan Thicke, co-trustees of their father's living trust claim are asking the Los Angeles Superior Court for further instructions on the separate property in the trust that belongs to the late actor. They also want clarification on Callau Thicke’s claim that the prenuptial agreement she signed prior to marrying their father is no longer valid.

Since the death of Alan Thicke, his sons claim that Callau Thicke found various problems with the trust and prenup. Their attorney also claims that she is threatening to go to the tabloids unless they agree to mediation.

Callau Thicke’s attorney refuted those claims can allege that the lawsuit is nothing more than a “distasteful public smear tactic” to bully her.

Regardless of a court’s ruling, ongoing disagreements within this real-life family will likely take far more than thirty minutes to fix.

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