Famous Last Wills and Testaments of American Presidents — A July 4th Tribute

Yee Law Group Inc. > Famous Last Wills and Testaments of American Presidents — A July 4th Tribute

american memorial with mount rushmoreThis year on the Fourth of July, the United States is celebrating its 245th birthday. Citizens around the country will be celebrating America’s birthday by gathering with family and friends for cookouts, parades, and breathtaking fireworks displays.

While birthdays are often fun events, they also serve to remind us that we are another year older as each year’s revolution around the sun brings us closer to a time when we will no longer be here to celebrate those birthdays. Birthdays are a good time to sit down with an estate planning attorney to make sure that when that day comes, your loved ones will be provided for.

The majority of U.S. presidents understood the importance of having a will and estate plan, with only four presidents dying without having an estate plan in place – Andrew Jackson (#7), Abraham Lincoln (#16), Ulysses S. Grant (#18), and James A. Garfield (#20).

Lincoln was the only one who died intestate while still president, having been assassinated in the first month of his second term. When he died, his estate was worth $110,295 and was distributed to his wife and two sons.

Presidential Estate Plans

George Washington (#1) had a will that bequeathed his $600,000 estate to his wife. His will also ordered that all the slaves he owned be set free upon her death.

Thomas Jefferson (#3) left land to two of his grandsons. Like Washington, he also stipulated in his will that some of his slaves would be freed upon his death, including three older men he had owned for decades, as well as two of Sally Hemings’ four children who Jefferson had fathered. Jefferson also took advantage of using a trust to protect property he was leaving his daughter from being seized by her husband’s creditors.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (#32 ) left his more than $1 million dollar estate in a joint trust for his two sons, which was also to benefit his wife and his grandchildren. Roosevelt also left instructions that up to $1,000 should be paid each year to cover the living expenses of the woman who had been his personal secretary for decades.

Perhaps no president’s estate exemplifies how trusts can be used to protect an estate from being gobbled up by estate and inheritance taxes than John F. Kennedy’s (#35). Kennedy’s $10 million estate was placed in two trusts, half the estate in one trust for his wife and the other half in a second trust for his two children.

Let an Estate Planning Attorney Help

You do not have to be rich or famous or a president of a country to have a will. No matter what your financial situation is, a Sacramento estate planning attorney can sit with you and come up with the best estate plan for your particular situation using the many tools that are available, including trusts, living wills, and power of attorneys. To learn more, contact the Yee Law Group Inc. to schedule a free and confidential consultation.