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Sometimes the best-laid plans can still yield estate litigation

By all indications, recently deceased entertainer Alan Thicke took his estate planning most seriously and in a clearly reflective and well-considered manner.

As court documents addressing the details of a living trust executed by the songwriter and television personality recently revealed, Thicke provided for family members in a seemingly thoughtful and most methodical way.

Despite that, though, Thicke's estate is now in some turmoil, with disputing parties exchanging salvos in a contest that is now under the oversight of a California state court.

Such things occasionally happen, including in Ohio, and notwithstanding even the staunchest efforts of estate planners to fully anticipate down-the-road problems and deal them effectively through planning instruments that are crafted with clarity and timeliness.

In Thicke's case, a living trust that was created named two of the celebrity's sons as co-trustees. It was their legal petition that put an escalating dispute under the purview of a judge and has placed a public spotlight on a spat between Thicke's children and his third wife.

That spouse, Tanya Callau Thicke, was -- together with Thicke's children -- provided for in some detail in the trust.

Nonetheless, she contests the outcome, stating that there are issues with the provisions that need to be judicially scrutinized. She has requested mediation to address a number of alleged problems.

The co-trustees oppose any such development, with their filing being focused upon the foreclosing of any continued inquiry into the trust or other challenges brought by Callau.

In addition to her questions concerning the trust, Callau is also reportedly disputing the terms of a prenuptial agreement she signed prior to marrying Thicke in 2005.

The trustees claim that Callau is threatening them with adverse "tabloid publicity" in the event they do not surrender to her demands. Her legal counsel calls that response a "smear tactic" and "distasteful."

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