Learning from Jim Morrison’s Will

Jim Morrison’s will highlights one of the most common misunderstandings in estate planning, “what happens to the balance of a bequest when the beneficiary dies.” A recent article discusses how this question was answered through the singer’s will.

English: Jim Morrison Memorial in Berlin-Baums...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In his will, Morrison left his entire estate to his girlfriend, Pamela Courson. The will provided that, in order to inherit, Courson had to survive Morrison by three months. If she did not, the inheritance intended for her would pass to Morrison’s brother and sister.

Courson survived Morrison by three months, and received her inheritance outlined in his will. Shortly after that, however, Courson passed away. Morrison’s fortune then went to Courson’s parents, rather than Morrison’s brother and sister. This was likely not the result that Morrison had intended.

Many people believe that, if they draft a simple will that names a primary and secondary beneficiary, the secondary beneficiary will receive the property when the primary beneficiary dies. This, however, is not true. After a beneficiary inherits assets, the assets belong to him or her. The beneficiary can leave the assets to anyone he or she chooses.

For assistance in drafting a will, contact us at (626) 696-3145.

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