Most presidents of our country have been well-prepared for office. One of our country’s greatest presidents, however, wasn’t prepared when it came to estate planning.
Abraham Lincoln was shot at Theater on April 14, 1865 and died the next day. Upon his death, the president’s son, Robert, sent a telegraph to David Davis, Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and a close friend of the president’s. The message was simple, as Robert requested Justice Davis to take charge of his father’s affairs.
Wasting no time, Davis made his way to Washington to be there for the family. Together, Robert and the president’s widow, Mary, issued a letter to the Judge of the Sangamon County Court in Illinois. Their request was to have the Judge appoint Davis as the administrator of Lincoln’s estate.
In his opening briefing, Davis estimated the president’s estate to be worth $85,000, which today would equate to several million dollars. The idea was that the money would be split between Mary, Robert and Lincoln’s other son, Thomas. What would wind up happening is a two-year legal process.
It was finally decided in November of 1867, that the sum of $110,296.80 would be divided amongst the three surviving members of the Lincoln family. It’s ironic when you think about it. President Lincoln was a respected and esteemed lawyer, but he didn’t even have legal services set to create a will for himself. The lack of a will created two long years for the Lincoln family, something they surely wish they could have avoided.
This is why we make it clear that it’s better to plan an estate now than later. You never know what can happen. The Probate ProSM has attorneys who prepare their clients, as well as you, with an estate plan. That way, you have assurance that your estate and all the assets are given to their rightful beneficiaries.
If you or someone you know may need estate planning services, call us at 1-877-YOUR-FIRM.