When we started a new series of blog posts back in April we weren’t sure what direction things would go. It turns out that we hit on a few recurring themes and in looking back we realize these are themes for our times. It may seem like we wrote across a diverse spectrum of subjects – we did manage to touch on the ’80’s classic film noir Body Heat, J. Paul Getty, Where the Wild Things Are, Dick Tracy, the NBA, Marilyn Monroe, and much more – but every post revolved around a handful of … well, probate truths.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? In practice, though, it rarely is. It’s like asking what Moby Dick symbolized for Herman Melville. We can read and read Moby Dick. We can read everything else Melville wrote (it was a lot), we can read letters to and from him by other writers, we can do a lot but we can’t do the most direct, most important step – we can’t ask Herman.
So, everything we do is try to understand what the deceased wanted. They can have a will, they can have trusts, foundations, and all manner of sophisticated testamentary documents and instruments but …
… sometimes that doesn’t convey the real story, the real intent. Sometimes, the conditions and influences leading to executing documents is murky … or even suspect. ‘Deathbed’ gifts, the elderly driven to lawyers they don’t know to execute new wills, changes to wills and trusts that seem to have come out of nowhere. the list goes on. All situations that are clouded by motives.
Why did the woman in Washington leave her ancestral property to her mail carrier? Did a wealthy businessman mean to disinherit his grandchildren or did he just lose track of things through too many codicils? What books did the famous author want to go to his foundation? What books did he want to go to the museum he supported his entire life?
So many questions. We see them everyday, we unravel the answers everyday.
We’ll be writing more this year. The themes will remain consistent because people are people.
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