The Ultimate Snub: 92 Years After His Death, Heirs Inherit Millions

June 14, 2011

At one time Wellington R. Burt was one of the top 8 wealthiest men in America, among names like John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford. Now, 12 heirs of the lumber tycoon will finally receive their share of an estate currently worth over 100 million dollars, from a man they have never known. Burt’s will stated that the majority of his estate would pass to his surviving heirs 21 years after the death of his last surviving grandchild. His last surviving grandchild passed in November 1989 which started the 21 year waiting game. While he is now most famous for his unusual will and the 92 years that would pass before any of his family would realize the greater part of his fortune, he was a charitable man. According to The Saginaw News he built schools and libraries for his workers as well as a women’s hospital, a Salvation Army and a YMCA.  Justin Engle of the Saginaw News has a great 4 part article about this unusual story.

Finding estate planning/probate type research can be difficult due to the simple word “will”.

The word “will” appears everywhere.

“The Court will . . . .”

“The jury will . . .”

But, when you are looking for a case that deals with a will, as in a Testator’s will, searching can get frustrating. Here is  what I do when I am looking for cases that deal with a will.

(testator decedent deceased #the #a +1 will) & [whatever else you are searching for]

Here is an example of how this can improve your results.

Say you need to find some basic cases dealing with a will, creditors, and a mortgage. Normally you could get away with a simple search like this:

will /p creditor /p mortgage but in California State Cases for instance (CA-CS) this gets 474 documents

By changing the search with what I recommend above which looks like this:

(testator decedent deceased #the #a +1 will) /p creditor /p mortgage you get 9 documents