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What were the terms of Andy Griffith's trust?

NAELA National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. MEMBER

Last year, one of the most notable actors in American television history, Andy Griffith, passed away. According to friends, the legendary actor expressed the desire to convert a house on his property into a museum after he passed. New Jersey readers may be interested to hear the news that Griffith's wife is currently planning on demolishing that house.

According to reports, Griffith's estate plan put most all of his real estate and assets into a trust, which are now controlled by an undisclosed trustee. His will did not specify what he wanted done with the house set to be torn down, nor did the document mention anything about a museum chronicling his career.

Whoever became the trustee of Griffith's property and assets has the ability to handle them in whatever way they see fit. If his wife has been designated as the trustee, she permitted to tear down the house since there was no specific provision in the will against doing so.

Based on reports, it appears as though the museum was an idea that Griffith had only verbally mentioned to friends. Since there was no provision included in his estate plan to establish the attraction, it may or may not become a reality. There is no clear timeline for the house to be removed from the property, but Griffith's widow has been obtained a permit to begin demolition.

This case serves as a reminder to East Hanover residents to make sure their wishes are put in writing in an estate plan. A provision in a will doesn't have to be as significant as building a museum, but clearly defining wishes in estate planning documents will ensure that the trustee follows through with the appropriate action.

Source: USA Today, "Andy Griffith's widow plans to raze his home," March 21, 2013

  • Our firm has experience has experience creating trusts and estate plans to suit the needs of New Jersey residents. To learn more, please visit our trust planning page.

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