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Monday, February 27, 2012

351-year-old will sparks bitter dispute in Mass.

You thought your family's estate took a long time to wind up? This story from Boston talks about the will of William Payne, written 351 years ago. In his will, Mr. Payne left land in a long term charitable trust for the benefit of Ipswich schools. Now a lawsuit has erupted over alleged mismanagement of the trust and the rent charged tenants of the many cottages built on Mr. Payne's land.

The Massachusetts Court of Appeal is going to decide whether or not to nullify the terms of the will in order to settle the $32 million lawsuit. The land is worth $41 million.

As a will writer, I find it interesting that the will itself has stood the test of time, though the trustees and others may have dropped the ball. The will was obviously clear enough for people to follow it for 350 years. To me, that's a successful will, even if the subsequent actions of those around the document end up causing it to be contested in court.

Click here to read the whole story from The attached photo is also from that story, and is credited to AP/Elise Amendola.

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