Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Illinois Resident Leaves Estate to 80s and 90s Actors

Here is a common discussion I have when first sitting down with clients.

Me: If you die, who would you like to inherit your assets?
Client: Well, I'm not married and I have no children, can I leave half to my friend and the other half to my college....is that okay?
Me: Yes, of course you can do whatever you want.  This is about taking control.

And now I have a great example to offer as an illustration.  Recently an elderly Illinois man died.  He had no spouse, no children, but he left a will in which gave the bulk of his estate (approximately $1 million) to two actors from the 1980s and 1990s -- Kevin Brophy and Peter Barton.  The will refers to them as friends, but personal papers show that the deceased was more of a fan than a friend.

So there you have it, with a will you can pretty much leave your estate to the person(s) of your choice.  Exceptions may sprout up if you are married, but for the most part, a will is taking control and telling the court what you want to happen.

As I finish typing I wonder if I'll ever have the good fortune to handle a probate in which a star is named, if so, I'd be giddy if it were George Clooney!

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