Mar 11, 2008

Ledger's Will Leaves Daughter's Inheritance Uncertain

Actor Heath Ledger made a will when he was just 23 -- unusual, and very smart for a rising star in the movie industry. Unfortunately, Ledger didn't update his will after his daughter was born two years ago. So when he died unexpectedly at age 28 in January, his will left nothing to his daughter Matilda or her mother, actress Michelle Williams. In most states, this means that little Matilda would be entitled to nothing from Ledger, because in most situations children who are left out of a will cannot claim a share of a deceased parent's estate. There are exceptions in some states -- for example, in Florida, a minor child (younger than 18) is entitled to your residence. Luckily, in this case, Ledger's family -- who inherit under that five-year-old will -- have promised to do the right thing and take care of the girl and her mother. But Matilda must depend on their good hearts, not the law. Almost everyone eventually needs more than one will. If you've made a will, pat yourself on the back -- but then go dig your document out of the back of the filing cabinet and see whether or not it still reflects your wishes.

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