Monday, February 18, 2013

Presidential Wills

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Presidents are people too!  And that means some had wills, and some did not.  I am not the only estate planning lawyer to think about this issue, and today's post owes a great deal of thanks to Schlender Law Firm in Boulder, Colorado.  They put together an interesting post back in July of 2009.

When a person, or a President dies without a will, it is called intestate.  When this happens any probate property (property without a beneficiary form or other such label) passes according to state statute.  And it appears that the following Presidents all died without a will in place:
  • Abraham Lincoln;
  • Andrew Johnson;
  • Ulysses S. Grant; and
  • James A. Garfield.
Other Presidents did have a will in place, and thanks to the wonder of libraries, court records being public, and cyber space, you can read them.  Links are below:

Reading a will not only tells us about the decedent, but also the times in which they lived.  Reading Jefferson's will is a bit surreal; our sitting President is an African American, yet the will of Jefferson bestows freedom for his loyal servants.

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