Following the December 2016 death of “Growing Pains” actor, Alan Thicke, tensions have risen between his loved ones concerning his estate, and the validity of a 2005 prenuptial agreement with his third wife. In a petition filed in May in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Thicke’s sons, Robin and Brennan, requested guidance regarding distributing their father’s trust property and the legitimacy of any potential claims from his widow, Tanya Callau Thicke, about the prenuptial agreement. Callau Thicke recently responded through a reported filing in early July. It seems that the legal battle is just getting started.
The sons’ filing asserts their father provided for Callau Thicke to receive a certain percentage of his personal effects, furnishings, and is the beneficiary of a $500,000 life insurance policy, pension benefits, and union memberships. Additionally, Thicke left her 40% of his remaining estate. Despite the substantial provisions made by Thicke for his widow, it has been alleged that Callau Thicke wishes to invalidate the prenuptial agreement to expand the portion of Thicke’s Estate she is entitled to receive by including a distribution from his living trust.
With substantial assets up for grabs and emotions on high, this dispute is exactly the strife that couples seek to avoid in the event of a remarriage. To avoid such unfortunate circumstances between blended family members in the event of death or divorce, many couples have entered into valid prenuptial and postnuptial agreements as estate planning measures.
A prenuptial agreement is entered upon marriage and creates an outline regarding the division of assets, property, and other support obligations in the event of death or divorce. A postnuptial agreement is a similar contract because it allows for the same precautionary measures to be taken, but is drafted after a couple is married. The main draw for individuals remarrying is that these agreements allow for certain protections to aid them in providing for children from previous marriages.
As the validity of Thicke’s prenuptial agreement seems to be a key issue in determining the proper distributions of his Estate, the importance of reviewing such a contract in advance with qualified legal counsel becomes apparent. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are not just legal documents that aid in estate planning, they also allow couples to embark on serious discussions regarding their concerns for the marriage and hopes for the future.