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Estate Planning

Eight Fun Facts About Estate Planning

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I know what you’re thinking — fun and estate planning don’t belong in the same sentence. The truth is that since the birth of mankind, people have been wisely making estate plans. Granted, the really early ones probably consisted of valuables buried in a hole marked with a stick, but hey, we had to start somewhere, right? Meanwhile, the reality is that an estate plan can give you peace of mind while you’re here – and make sure your loved ones are protected once you’re gone.

Here are some fun and interesting facts about estate planning:

1. The Smithsonian Institution was created in 1829 through a bequest in the last will and testament of James Smithson.

2. The oldest example of a power of attorney is from Mesopotamia 561 B.C. The contract empowers one brother to act in business for the other.

3. The record for the longest will ever probated is 1,066 pages and 95,940 words and is held by Frederica Evelyn Stilwell Cook.

4. The shortest known wills are only three words long, reading, “all to son” and “all to wife.”

5. Sonny BonoKurt CobainJohn DenverChris FarleyHoward Hughes, and Martin Luther King Jr. are all examples of well-known Americans who died without a will in place.

6. Del Close, the improv-guru who taught the likes of Bill Murray and Mike Meyers asked that his skull go to Chicago’s Goodman Theatre so that he could be Yorick in Hamlet after his death.

7. The “will of Uah” is the oldest known will in the world. The document was found in Egypt and dates back to 2548 B.C. In it, the testator leaves all property to his wife, Teta.

8. Living wills, which allow people to control their end-of-life medical treatment, are a recent estate planning mechanism. California became the first state to allow living wills in September 1976.

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