The trusts I draft are usually pretty thick, thicker than clients expect. But no matter how thick the trust, the plan can fail if spouses are not in agreement on the underlying character of the property (separate or community). This might have been the case with the Thicke family. Generally this is not a big issue in planning, and I’ll bring in independent counsel if a significant transmutation is necessary, but sometimes the clients are just not realistic about the issue (and usually when this happens, they have differing reasons for not being realistic). These are clients to avoid, unless the situation is strictly controlled.
Normally when we write about this sort of celebrity estate planning battle, it’s because of a failure in the planning process that is cast in abject relief by hindsight. Often, there simply wasn’t a planning process at all, and we as professionals get to learn or reinforce some valuable lessons, and we as regular people get to enjoy some delightful schadenfreude at a celebrity’s expense. This one is different however, as even though he died unexpectedly, Alan Thicke looked to have a fairly comprehensive estate plan in place. Less fun for onlookers, maybe, but definitely more professionally interesting.Alan created the Thicke Living Trust in 1988 for the benefit of his family. Alan and Tonya executed a prenuptial agreement in September 2004 and were married in May 2005.