Actor Tony Curtis (father of actress Jamie Lee Curtis) died last year. Just four months before he passed away he had a will drafted which stated each of his four children by name followed by the clause: “I acknowledge the existence of my children … and have intentionally and with full knowledge chosen not to provide for them.”
Curtis left his children nothing in his estate. He left his entire estate to his fifth wife and widow Jill Curtis. One of Tony’s children did contest the will but the contest was denied by the court. In New Jersey there is no law requiring a parent to leave anything to his adult children.
If an individual dies without a will the intestate laws of the state would dictate how property is divided and children typically are entitled to a portion of the estate. If a parent wishes to disinherit his children he must do so explicitly in a will. The language in Tony Curtis’ will is effective because it explicitly names the existence of his children and his decision to not leave them any inheritance. This added clause makes it easier for the court to understand the children were not forgotten or inadvertently left out of the will.
Getting Legal Help
Experienced Estate Planning Attorney Elga Goodman can help you create a plan which protects your privacy, your assets, and your loved ones. Call us today at 973-841-5111.