Chadwick Boseman’s Californian Intestacy

Chadwick Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016; enduring surgeries and chemotherapy as he became one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, he died in August.

“in his home, with his wife (Taylor Simone Ledward), and family by his side.”

The couple had been together since 2015 reportedly marrying shortly before Chadwick died.

Chad, as he was known to his family and friends, was born and raised in Anderson South Carolina. The youngest member of a family of five with two older brothers Derrick and Kevin and their parents Carolyn and Leroy; at 12 he read Derrick’s copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The family were active members of Welfare Baptist Church.

Chad who graduated from high school in 1995 played on the basketball team wrote and staged his first play, Crossroads, following the shooting of a classmate.

Graduating with a degree in directing from Howard University, Chad moved to New York following a summer program at Oxford University. In New York Chad lived with his brother Kevin and studied acting to learn how to relate to actors. Working as the drama instructor at the Schomburg Centre for Research in Black Culture in Harlem and writing and directing several short plays including “Deep Azure.”

Chad came to prominence playing prominent African Americans including Jackie Robinson in 42, James Brown in Get on Up, and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall. However, he will be best remembered for Black Panther.

Black Panther

Black Panther, the first superhero movie to be nominated for the best picture Oscar had a predominantly Black cast. It has been reported that Marvel wanted T’ Challa, king of Wakanda – a fictional African high-tech utopia – to have an English or American accent, but Chad who had admired “Black Panther” comics since working at an African bookstore at Howard insisted on an African one.

Black Panther combined references to racial solidarity, slavery and colonialism with an afro-futurist aesthetic. Erik Killmonger, the antagonist and cousin to T’Challa asks to be buried

“in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships because they knew death was better than bondage”.

A reference to the Igbo enslaved West Africans who in 1803 arrived in Savannah, Georgia, on a slave ship, rose in rebellion, took control of the ship, and committed mass suicide.

In 2018, Chad received an honorary doctorate and delivered the commencement speech at Howard University. He was proud to be awarded an honour that Jackie Robinson and Dr Martin Luther King Jr. received on the same day in 1957.

Chad hadn’t made a will; Taylor filed a petition for letters of administration at Los Angeles Superior Court also listing Chads parents in the filing.

California Intestacy Law

In California, when married people die intestate the deceased’s estate is distributed dependent upon whether the property was owned as separate or community property. Generally, the property acquired while married is community property; separate property is property acquired before the marriage. 

However, gifts and inheritances given to one spouse, even when acquired during the marriage, are considered separate property

Under California’s intestate succession laws, if the deceased did not leave any surviving issue, parent, brother, sister, or issue of a deceased brother or sister, the spouse will inherit 100% of the deceased’s separate property. 

If the deceased had surviving children, the surviving spouse will share the deceased’s separate property with the children. If the deceased has no surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, or cousins, the property will escheat – the State of California takes title and delivery of that property for its own use.

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