Where there’s a will – there’s relatives. No idea who first came up with that twist but it sure seems to be a truthful, if sad, commentary on us.
In The Passing of Tulee Main, that very thing comes up. Liz, on discovering the will that Tulee’s left says, . . . I just can’t help thinking of that old saying about ‘where there’s a will, there’s relatives’ and events prove her fears to be well founded.
Denise, Bob’s grasping ex-wife, plays a prominent part in the story, simply because – well – she’s Denise and she finds what she hopes is a weak spot in the plan of inheritance Tulee has left behind. As the story goes on the reader will discover that this is simply ‘fundamental Denise’ – me, me, me. Her campaign to get control of more of Tulee’s estate than she’s been allotted, fills a good portion of the story. Her self-centered greed contributes almost as much of the tale as do the results of Eb’s stupidly bumbling greed. They both want something and the will is the path they choose to pursue their ambitions.
Their actions are, of course, fiction – interesting fiction and worth their portions of the story line but nothing more than part of a tale being told.
However, those actions are also mirrors of bizarre clashes that are part of everyday life; have been as long as there have been deaths and descendents. Most fights center around money or power – who’s going to get how much.
Look up J. Howard Marshall II. At 89, he left his wife (who was 62 years younger, prompting the usual speculation) and his son in a court battle that went on for years – may still be for all I know.
John Seward Johnson I left a tale almost the same. The details and amounts vary but not by that much. Leona Helmsley managed to infuriate her grandchildren by, among other things, leaving $12 million to her dog and pointedly leaving them out of the will entirely. Jay Pritzker left $15 billion but only $1 billion of that was contested – relative calm there, I guess.
There seem to be as many of these strange struggles as there is time to look for them. I spent a little while on the internet and ran across these and maybe a dozen others.
Of all of them, the Ted Williams dispute strikes me as the oddest. There was no argument about money but, rather, one over the disposition of the body. In the end, he was not cremated as the will directed but was cryogenically frozen (head separated from body). This seems to be largely because one of the parties simply ran out of the money needed to continue the court fight.
You can look any of these up, either on the web or through other sources. I guess they all offer something of interest. For my part, I’d recommend you read of the struggles in The Passing of Tulee Main. Just as interesting and better written.
Comment at will.
(This post is intended to complement the narrative and views expressed in “The Passing of Tulee Main”. To learn more about the book, press the ‘Main Site Home Page’ link at the top of this post. (Beyond the on-site material there, the Nook, Kindle and Amazon links have sample chapters available to view.)