One of my favorite routines on my annual summer vacation is to read the local news. Regular readers of this Blog may not be surprised that the story which caught my eye this summer was about an Estate.
Richard M. Grant, a life-long farmer, known as the “The Corn King” and “The Bean Baron of Maine”, passed away in February 2017. According to the Portland Press Herald (“the Herald”), Grant’s Will left his farmland, building and equipment to his wife who he had married in 2014. The Herald also reported that a handwritten note at the end of the Will indicated that he wanted to leave his daughter a bottle of Grey Goose vodka and his son the “biggest screwdriver in my toolbox”.
The assets of his estate consisted of a house, 3 barns, a variety of tractors and over 300 acres of land that started with a gift from King George III in the late 1700s. Unfortunately, due to an estate dispute the farm assets were going on the auction block on July 12th, 2018.
The local paper did not report on the details of the dispute other than to indicate that a settlement agreement between his wife Stacey and his 3 children from a former marriage, was filed in the local Probate Court in June 2018. Fortunately, before my vacation ended, I was able to read the conclusion to the auction which, again according to the Herald, satisfied the family.
It is a shame that the farm, which had been in the family since the late 1700s did not remain in the family. Perhaps the surviving family did not want to continue farming. What I do know from experience is that when a testator engages with an experienced estate & trust specialist to create a legacy plan, unintended consequences can be avoided.
Enjoy the rest of your summer.