Man leaves $1 million estate to actors he’d never met

February 14, 2013

Almost all of us have at some point admired a famous athlete, movie star, musician or other celebrity. Whether we live in Los Angeles or across the country, we may never even meet them, let alone befriend them. But it can be fun to imagine what it would be like to develop a personal relationship with that person. For most people, these daydreams fade as we grow older and focus on our own reality. But one man took his admiration for two actors he admired to a surprising level: He left everything he owned to them.

The 71-year-old man died last July. He had no family or children to inherit his 160-acre property in the Midwest, where he lived alone. The attorney who handled his estate said the man had few friends and didn’t know his neighbors. Back in the late 1990s, when the man’s father died, the attorney helped him settle the father’s estate and later prepared his will for him. He had no reason to question the man’s statement that the two actors who would inherit the entire estate were friends.

In reality, the man had never met the actors, who are relatively unknown. One had a recurring role on “The Young and the Restless” in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The other has mostly had bit parts in movies and television since his starring role in the 1970s series “Lucan,” and the two appeared together in a 1981 horror film. The man apparently admired their work enough to split his property, estimated at more than $1 million, and his life savings to the actors.

Not surprisingly, the actors were stunned. One made a visit to the man’s Illinois property to verify the news wasn’t a hoax. But the estate plan is valid, and the actors should receive their inheritance after the property sells.

You may have your own ideas about who should inherit your estate, and no matter how bizarre they might seem to others, the decisions you make in writing your will are yours alone. Just be sure to specify your wishes in a legally binding document, perhaps with the help of an estate planning attorney. The more people might question your choice of heirs, the more important it is to make your plans detailed, thorough and official.

Source: Yahoo News, “Man Estate Left to Actors He Never Met,” Susanna Kim, Feb. 8, 2013

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