6 Facts About Estate Planning in Florida6 Facts About Estate Planning in Florida
December 4, 2017 • estate planning
When you think of estate planning, you most likely think about what you have to do, what requirements you will have to meet, and how much it might cost you. Yet, there’s more to know about estate planning than just the steps to completing it. Here are some interesting tidbits you may not know about the act of estate planning.
The oldest known will is over 4500 years old.
Discovered in an Egyptian tomb, a will drafted by a man called Uah stands as the oldest known will historians ever recovered. Scholars report that he drafted it in the year 2548 BC. What was this Egyptian man’s dying wish? That his wife, Teta, inherit his property.
The longest will drafted is eight times longer than the U.S. constitution.
Legal documents have a reputation for being long in word counts. Most people have a hard time reading one-page user agreements when they open a new account. The original Constitution of the United States was more than 12,000 words long, and there are mortgage agreements that dwarf this central pillar of American law.
Now, imagine a last will and testament that is almost eight times as long – covering 1,066 pages. One might imagine that such a massive document regarding a deceased person’s estate must be dealing immense wealth. This would be an incorrect assumption. The person holding this record is none other than Frederica Evelyn Stilwell Cook, whose estate had a value of $100,000.
World’s shortest will is shorter than this subheading.
Not everyone needs to match Ms. Cook’s verbosity to successfully pass on their estate to their loved ones. Some require less than a page. The shortest, validated will on record belongs to one Herr Karl Tausch from Hessen, Germany. He penned it in January of 1967 in Czech and is three words long: all to wife. If only Ms. Cook had taken a page out of this person’s book.
Living wills are not very old.
While end-of-life care has existed as long as humanity, the concept of having a will that only handled issues relating to how you were cared for by medical professionals originated much more recently. This estate-planning tool first came into use in September of 1976 when California became the first state to approve such a document.
The most famous museum in the U.S. started in a will.
When James Smithson made plans for his estate, he had some ideas about what he wanted to happen to his wealth after he passed away. His will left his estate to his nephew but the education of the next generation of Americans also influenced his thinking. He included a provision that stated if his nephew passed away without an heir, his wealth would finance the construction of the Smithsonian Institution. His nephew did die without an heir, leaving America an institution of learning and of the most famous museums in the world.
If you need help creating your will or have questions about estate planning, talk to an attorney today. It doesn’t have to be as long as Ms. Cook’s or as short as Mr. Tausch’s – but it does need to be clear and legally sound. Contacting a qualified estate planning attorney can ensure a strong and sound will.