When it comes to writing a will, some people go to extremes. Hotelier Leona Helmsley left strict instructions in her will for her $4 billion fortune to be spent caring for dogs. Her 9-year-old Maltese, Trouble, was bequeathed $12 million, later reduced to $2 million by a judge. Despite this rude reversal of fortune, Trouble had to go into hiding amid multiple death and kidnapping threats. 1We all need to think about creating a will, whether or not it includes a legacy of unlimited doggie treats, to ensure our belongings are left to the people—or pets—we intend.
Why have a will? These 7 extraordinary wills changed lives
It's not just eccentric billionaires, artists and donors who need to write a will—we all do. And whatever loved ones—or pets—get a mention, an estate plan can help make your wishes bulletproof. Consider using an online estate-planning tool to help you get things in order for those you love.
This material is for informational or educational purposes only and does not constitute fiduciary investment advice under ERISA, a securities recommendation under all securities laws, or an insurance product recommendation under state insurance laws or regulations. This material does not take into account any specific objectives or circumstances of any particular investor, or suggest any specific course of action. Investment decisions should be made based on the investor's own objectives and circumstances.
1"Cosseted Life and Secret End of a Millionaire Maltese," The New York Times, June 2011.
2"How Andrew Carnegie Turned His Fortune Into A Library Legacy," NPR.org, August 2013.
3Source: <http://www.constitution.org/primarysources/lastwill.html> June, 2017.
4"From Ben Franklin, a Gift That's Worth Two Fights," The New York Times, 1990.
5"Seven years after his death, Andy Warhol's work is still controversial. Valuation of his estate is the subject of a bitter legal drama which has kept the New York art world enthralled," The Independent, July 1994.
6"Oseola McCarty," philanthropyroundtable.org, accessed June 2018.
7"96-Year-Old Secretary Quietly Amasses Fortune, Then Donates $8.2 Million," The New York Times, May 2018.