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Millionaire Leaves Behind Estate Plan in Will

A millionaire who passed away with a variety of assets, including real estate, jewelry, artwork and cash, left an island to the Massachusetts Audubon Society, according to the will. The woman — who was the widow of a well-known philanthropist and heir to the Listerine fortune — split her sizable amount of assets, including $20 million in cash, between her descendants and several other charities.

Some of the beneficiaries include the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. In addition to the island she left to the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the woman also made arrangements for a model airplane club to be able to continue to fly the planes over a Massachusetts property she left to the Nantucket Conservation Foundation.

The will was filed on March 19, and while it does give a small glimpse into the woman’s financial affairs, the filing did not give an accounting of the estate’s total value. Instead, it describes many of the personal effects and jewelry the woman left behind, as well as the properties included in the estate. The will also makes provision for employees to be hired to help the executor manage the estate.

While most people do not have such a large estate, the detail that the woman put into her estate planning will likely make the process as easy as possible. According to reports, the woman also revised the will nine times over a span of eight years. Creating a will that is as detailed as possible and keeping it up to date is crucial to estate planning. Disputes over assets can arise when families should be taking the time to grieve over lost loved ones, but a clear and accurate will can help keep this from happening and ensure the person’s wishes are carried out.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon’s millions distributed in will” Tracie Mauriello and Mackenzie Carpenter, Mar. 20, 2014

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