It’s In My Will–Oh, Wait!

I have to tell you, I was a bit shocked to discover that the late, great Queen of Soul (Aretha Franklin) did not have a will. I had one years ago when I was young and poor—long before I had anything to bequeath. So finding out that someone who was undoubtedly worth millions didn’t have one… Well, let’s just say I was amazed.

Despite my astonishment, this is, apparently, nothing new for celebrities. I did a bit of research and found a boatload of the rich and famous who died without a will. Among them are people like Prince, Amy Winehouse, and Bob Marley. I suppose some of this has to do with the fact that many people think they’re invincible—particularly the young ones. This, of course, flies in the face of all the evidence to the contrary. From what I’ve heard, the death rate is still one per person. We’ll all meet our Maker someday. We’d like to forestall it as long as we can, but meet Him we will.

One of the ones who surprised me is Sonny Bono. If Sonny had simply been an artistic singer/songwriter, I guess I might have understood it (sort of). But he was a mayor and a congressman as well. One would think that a person with such political savvy would understand the importance of such matters, but his lack of a will belies that assumption.

Unsavvy Assumptions

Kurt Cobain was another star who died young—twenty-seven to be exact. Somehow, I wasn’t totally surprised that he didn’t have a will. At least, I wasn’t surprised until I found out he was worth $450 million. Oy vey! His spouse, Courtney Love, gave up the rights to his name and likeness in order to obtain a loan. A will may have been in order.

The list goes on—Martin Luther King, Jr., Tupac Shakur, Heath Ledger, John Denver, Steve McNair, Marvin Gaye, and Pablo Picasso, just to name a few. The kickers for me, though, were real lulus. The first of my two stunners was Abraham Lincoln.

So, how can an attorney turned politician and elected President of these United States not have a will? I’m not sure, but he didn’t have one. Fortunately for his family, presidents get the royal treatment and a Supreme Court Justice took care of the $85,000 estate.

The Beat Goes On

The one that really gets me, however, is Billionaire Howard Hughes. I just can’t…

Please allow me to remind you of the reality of your coming demise (whether untimely or not). The Bible clearly states, “Everyone will die someday.” (Ecclesiastes 9:2) There seem to be no exceptions. Do your family a favor and prepare a will. For Heaven’s sake, it’s the twenty-first century.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]

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