In life, Florence Griffith Joyner (Flo Jo as she was known to fans) was famous for her long painted fingernails, hand-made body suits, and of course, for running really fast. In the late eighties she set Olympic records in both the one hundred meter and two hundred meter, earning herself another nickname, “the world’s fastest woman.”
Sadly, on September 21, 1998, Joyner suffered an epileptic seizure and died in her sleep. She was thirty nine years old.
After her death, Joyner’s family searched in vain for her will. They never recovered it and it was never filed with the court.
As a result, Joyner’s estate went into probate. Her mother and husband found themselves embroiled in a bitter legal battle; Joyner’s mother claiming Joyner promised she could live out the remainder of her life in the Joyner home. Joyner’s husband claiming his wife never made any such promise. With the will missing, it was impossible to determine the truth. In the end, the judge appointed a third party to administer the estate.
Had Joyner’s will been recovered her family could have been spared the personal and financial expense of a lengthy probate. Instead, her estate paid unnecessary legal fees, while two of the people most important to her feuded in court for the better part of four years.
It goes without saying that for a person’s estate planning to be effective, it must be accessible. A trusted person must know where the planning documents are and be able to retrieve them.
However, life does happen and disasters occur. It is possible for a person’s planning to be lost or destroyed. As a result, many firms (including Streeter Law Group) keep a copy of the client’s most recent plan because you never know.
For more information about wills, trust or other estate planning documents, please contact a qualified estate planning attorney.