Chadwick Boseman Demonstrates the Importance of Planning

The star of multiple films, including the blockbuster superhero film “Black Panther,” died on August 28 of colon cancer. “Black Panther” by Marvel was nominated for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The film grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide. Chadwick Boseman became a role model for millions by playing Marvel Studio’s first Black superhero. Boseman also starred in films portraying real-life heroes, like Jackie Robinson (“42”), James Brown (“Get On Up”), and Thurgood Marshall (“Marshall”).

Boseman showed us that even those who appear to be young, vibrant, and heroic need planning. Boseman died at age 43. While little is known of Boseman’s estate planning, we do know that he had a wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, whom he met in 2015 and to whom he got engaged to in October 2019. Boseman was the youngest of three sons of his mother, a nurse, and his father, a textile factory worker.

Even those of us who are young need at least a basic estate plan. A basic estate plan includes:

  • A Power of Attorney for Property which appoints someone as your Agent to manage your property, particularly when you’re not able to do so yourself.
  • A Healthcare Power of Attorney which appoints an Agent for you to make healthcare decisions for you when you’re unable to make those decisions for yourself. This may be combined with a Living Will which expresses your wishes regarding end-of-life decisions.
  • A Living Trust often is used to hold your property during lifetime. A Trust avoids the probate process and the cost, delays, and publicity which it might bring.
  • A Pourover Will is used to transfer any property in the estate at death to the Trust for disposition according to its terms. The Will is also the document in which you nominate guardians for any minor children.
  • A HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Power, which grants access to your protected health information. Without this authority, loved ones and fiduciaries, such as your Agent or Successor Trustee, might not be able to know your health information, including whether you’re even in a hospital or other facility or if you’re no longer able to manage your affairs and your Agent or Successor Trustee needs to step in.

Chadwick Boseman performed his most famous roles after his diagnosis with colon cancer four years before his death. President Barack Obama tweeted: “To be young, gifted, and Black; to use that power to give [Black kids] heroes to look up to; to do it all while in pain – what a use of his years.”

What a use of his years, indeed. Chadwick Boseman demonstrated that one can inspire millions through your words and your deeds.