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Tom Wolfe’s Estate

The author Tom Wolfe was always viewed as being a little bit eccentric, if for no other reason than he always wore a white suit. He wore the white suit, even when he was hanging out with college kids and hippies for research. He recently passed away from an infection at the age of 88. The contents of his will have been made public. While Wolfe might have been eccentric during his life, his will is far less so. Wolfe left all his personal property and real property to his wife. The rights to his books were left to his two children, as the Daily Mail reports in “Tom Wolfe’s will reveals he left the bulk of fortune to his wife of 40 years and asked to be cremated.”

The only unusual thing is Wolfe skipping over his wife when it came to the book rights, which are potentially valuable. However, he might have done it because his wife would have eventually given them to the children anyway in her estate plan. She might also not have known how to handle the rights. One of Wolfe’s children is a journalist and is likely better positioned to know how to handle rights to books.

At this point, it is not known if there will be any conflicts over Wolfe’s estate. If he can be said to have a made a mistake in his planning, it would be that it is public. If Wolfe had used a trust as his main estate planning tool, the details could have remained private.

Reference: Daily Mail (June 15, 2018) “Tom Wolfe’s will reveals he left the bulk of fortune to his wife of 40 years and asked to be cremated.”

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