5 celebrities who died intestate

Date: Aug 31, 2015

People who pass away without writing a will are deemed to have died intestate. This means their estate is distributed to beneficiaries according to a formula rather than the deceased's specific wishes.

Inheritance disputes are common among the loved ones of individuals who die intestate, particularly those who left behind vast fortunes and many potential claimants.

This article covers some of the most well known celebrities who failed to write or update their will before their deaths.

Barry White

Legendary singer-songwriter Barry White didn't update his will before passing away in 2003. He had an ex-wife, an estranged spouse, a long-time lover and nine children.

His most recent will left his estate to his second wife Glodean James, who he had been separated from for many years but had never divorced. Meanwhile, his partner at the time of his death, Katherine Denton, received nothing.

Jimi Hendrix

Rock star Jimi Hendrix's estate still generates millions of dollars each year, despite him dying 45 years ago in 1970 at aged 32. With no will, Hendrix's assets eventually went to his father Al.

However, the estate continues to be in the news due to inheritance disputes between family members. After Al's death, control of Hendrix's assets went to his stepsister Janie, although his brother Leon contested the decision.

Stieg Larsson

Swedish author Stieg Larsson died just before his best-selling Millennium series of books was published. The three novels, which began with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, were eventually turned into successful movies.

Larsson's estate passed on to his brother and father through Swedish intestacy laws. The author's long-time partner Eva Gabrielsson, whom he never married, received nothing.

Heath Ledger

Australian actor Heath Ledger failed to update his will before his untimely death in 2008 at the age of 28. This meant his estate planning didn't include his daughter, Matilda, who was born two years after his last will was written.

However, the beneficiaries of his estate - Ledger's parents and three sisters - confirmed Matilda would receive everything the late actor left behind.

Bob Marley

Jamaican Reggae star Bob Marley died of cancer in 1981 and was survived by his wife, Rita, and many children. According to sources, Marley's Rastafarian beliefs prevented him from making a will.

As such, the Marley estate has been subjected to various inheritance disputes over the years, especially as it continues to generate considerable earnings.