While surfing the web this week I came across an article
concerning Richard Harrison. For those of you not familiar with the name, Mr.
Harrison was on the reality-based television show "Pawn Stars," where
he was affectionately referred to as "the Old Man."
Now, before I go any further, let me assure you that I’m
not really into the whole celebrity voyeurism thing that seems so prevalent
today. I honestly couldn’t care less about the Kardashians or which stars are
What I am is an estate planning nerd. I love reading
anything that brings up estate planning especially when it’s in the news, which
leads me to Mr. Harrison, who passed away recently apparently leaving a last
will and testament.
According to the article, Mr. Harrison amended his will in
2017. The amendment, or codicil, excluded one of his three sons and the son’s
issue (children, grandchildren, etc.). It’s this exclusion that warranted the
The article didn’t give a reason for the exclusion of the
son, and the will was artfully drafted to acknowledge the son but give no
concrete reason for his removal. In other words, Mr. Harrison made a decision
about his estate plan and the attorney drafted the plan accordingly. End of
I think the reason this even warranted an article is
because a celebrity varied away from what most of us consider a typical estate
Most of the plans that I draft fall into what I call the
typical “I Love You” estate plan. An "I Love You" estate plan
essentially says everything to the spouse and then to the kids. I’m willing to
bet that 85 percent of the wills and trusts that I draft include a testamentary
provision similar to this.
However, the important thing to remember is that plans
don’t have to follow this type of testamentary distribution. It’s your
property, folks, and if you want to exclude a child, you should feel free to do
so. It may go against the norm but that doesn’t mean that it’s wrong or
inappropriate. It simply means that in your particular family dynamic, favoring
one child or disfavoring another one is the right thing to do.
I don’t know Mr. Harrison’s excluded son or anything about
him. Maybe there is a great reason for the exclusion, or maybe not. The thing
is, nobody should have an expectation of being included in an estate plan, and
if they do, that’s their problem, not yours.
here for the original article from NWI Times.