Fights could be looming over Ali estate

Over the weekend, residents across Georgia were saddened by the death of legendary boxer, activist and philanthropist Muhammad Ali. His life and his passing had an impact on people all across the globe, from sports fans hailing him as "the greatest of all time" to people inspired by his lengthy battle with Parkinson's disease.

However, the people most closely affected by his death include those in his notoriously large family and those he helped through his lifetime. He is survived by his nine children, grandchildren and wife, and he made countless connections through charity and as a public figure. While the details of Ali's will and the future of his estate have not been reported, there are points of discussion that have arisen in light of his passing.

To begin with, this tragic situation can be a reminder that as the number of people involved in or excluded from a will increases, so do the opportunities to challenge that will.

For instance, spreading your assets among three people may seem more manageable than spreading it out over a dozen people. More people can mean more varied situations and interests that can come into play. This can require that you are more diligent and thorough with the instructions in your estate plan.

It is also important to note that there is an incredible amount at stake in this particular situation. According to reports, Ali is believed to be worth $50 million. This comes in the form of properties, lifetime earnings, name and image licenses and other assets.

In situations where a person's net worth and asset valuation includes items more complex than cash in a bank account, distributing those assets can be particularly challenging. It can also raise the financial stakes, which can provide motivation to contest a will. When the amounts of money involved are smaller, people may not feel as inclined to challenge.

Most people don't have the assets, relationships and iconic status of a famed athlete like Ali, but that doesn't mean they should take lightly how their death can and will affect others. Taking the time to craft an estate plan can help people from all backgrounds protect themselves and their families.

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