What you write in your Will or Trust may affect others for decades.
The New York Times reported on Dec. 13, 2012 that a Florida woman -- who says that Louis Armstrong, the famous jazz artist, was her father -- is breaking her long silence about what she considers “my parents’ secret”. Why? She says she’s doing so because the estate of Louis Armstrong never recognized her existence. Armstrong died in 1971.
Not only did Armstrong leave nothing in his Will for her, but Armstrong’s last wife, signed an affidavit saying that Armstrong had no children. Ouch!
Clearly this slight has bothered the woman, Sharon Preston-Folta, age 57, for decades. She is now auctioning some letters that Armstrong wrote to her mother to show the world what her family had kept secret.
Preston-Folta told The New York Times: “I matter. My story is important. I have every right to say who I am, to be proud of it.”
Her reaction is not surprising. Perhaps nothing cuts deeper than a denial of one’s existence by one’s own family.
As an estate planner, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be careful with what you say or don’t say in your Will or Trust. It is, after all, your last conversation with your family. It’s a conversation that leaves a lasting impact.
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