Even Presidents Need Estate Planning
The President of the United States is often considered one of the most powerful people on earth. Maybe the stress of serving in the office caused some of the presidents to ignore things like writing an effective Will. But, as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln found out, even presidents need estate planning.
George Washington – The Estate That Wouldn’t End.
As busy as he was being president of the United States, and a gentleman farmer, George Washington did take the time to write a Will. Actually, he wrote two Wills himself, without help from any attorneys. Washington destroyed one on the eve of his death in 1799. The surviving Will provided for his wife, forgave debts, emancipated and provided for his slaves, and bequeathed money and stocks to promote education.
As with modern-day Wills, Washington’s Will was admitted to probate and became public record. An appraisal of his property at Mount Vernon, however, was not filed until 1810. His estate was not completely settled until June 21, 1847.
Abraham Lincoln – Honest, but Intestate
Despite being a lawyer, Abraham Lincoln did not leave a Last Will and Testament. Upon his assassination in April 1865, his family asked U. S. Supreme Court Justice David Davis, a close family friend, to be administrator of his estate.
Unlike Washington’s estate, however, Lincoln’s estate sailed through probate. By November 1867, less than three years from his death, his estate was settled.
Had Lincoln left a Will, he may have left most of his estate to his wife, Mary. However, because he died intestate, Lincoln’s sizeable estate was split between his wife and two sons.
Elect to Have a Great Estate Plan.
It’s probably rare for probate to last 47 years like George Washington’s, but about 55% of Americans follow Lincoln’s footsteps in not having an estate plan. People in this day and age have the advantage of using estate planning strategies to avoid long-term probate and dying without a Will.
The attorneys at the Keystone Law Firm have the skill and experience to assist you with your estate planning needs. Call us at (480) 418-8448 to set up an appointment. Although located in Chandler, we also work with clients in the surrounding communities like Sun Lakes, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe.