Sunday, November 10, 2013

Should Gore Vidal Have Left a Nicer Will?

If a famous author wants to leave the bulk of his wealth ($37 million, by one estimate) to Harvard, fine.
Vidal in 2009,
two years before altering his will.
But wouldn't it be nice to leave something to his half-sister and her son? And surely he'd want to pension off his longtime housekeeper-chef?

Not Gore Vidal.  “I’m exactly as I appear," he once said. "There is no warm, lovable person inside. Beneath my cold exterior, once you break the ice, you find cold water.”

Result: yet another celebrity will contest. Nina Straight, Vidal’s half sister, "is challenging her half brother’s will on the grounds that Mr. Vidal was not mentally competent when he changed the terms of his will the year before he died."

Do you get the feeling that Vidal would have been sorry if his estate planning had not provoked a legal battle?

Photo via Wikimedia Commons


Jim Gust said...

If mental competence is the test, Gore Vidal could never have made a will at anytime in his life.

Jim Gust said...

I am much more offended at this bequest to the bloated Harvard endowment than, for example, Leona Helmsly's bequest to her dog. At least that one generated an estate tax! The Vidal estate has dodged about $15 million in estate taxes with this estate planning maneuver.

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