Estate planning provides people with peace of mind. If something was to happen to you, would you have the proper documents in place to make sure your wishes are followed? The distribution of assets can be dictated through a will, which many people tend to overlook. Sometimes people, who aren’t of old age, think they don’t need to worry about what will happen to their belongings.
Although Martin Luther King Jr. was very much in the national spotlight, with countless advisors helping him promote civil rights, an important estate planning detail was overlooked before his assassination. King didn’t have a will, dictating what would happen to his belongings if he was to die. The lack of estate planning has lead to numerous lawsuits by his estate, which was set up as a private corporation run by his children, trying to determine the distribution of assets, including historic items such as letters written by King.
Now, his estate is suing a news anchor in Mississippi whose mother worked with King and received various items from King in the late 1950s, such as letters and photographs. The estate says those items are the property of the estate, and have historic importance. The woman who obtained them, and passed them onto her news anchor son, says the items were given to her, but the estate claims they were obtained through her employment by King and that doesn’t make the items rightfully hers.
Whether or not King intended for the woman who worked for him to have the documents and photographs or not may never be known, since King did not have a will. This important document can help make sure your assets are distributed to the people you intend, and prevent your descendents from arguing over what your intentions were.
Source: The Dispatch, “TV anchor seeks ruling in lawsuit by MLK estate,” Holbrook Mohr, Dec. 7, 2011