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Knives Out

The film “Knives Out” is an award nominated dark comedy written by Rian Johnson, who is best (and actually only) known as the writer and director of “The Last Jedi”, the 8th installment of the “Star Wars” saga. The film involves the death of the patriarch of a family, his will, and the machinations of his family to obtain his estate. It also involves the Hercule Poirot-esque detective played by Daniel Craig investigating the death.

Without revealing any significant plot parts, I noticed a few estate planning points:

1. Will readings are entirely a creative device for Hollywood. I have never been part of one in 30+ years of practice.

2. The grandchildren were part of the angry family pining for an inheritance, but rarely would grandchildren inherit a meaningful sum from their grandparent unless their own parent were deceased.

3. The film did correctly reference the Slayer Statute.

4.Channeling my Gene Siskel, skinny, late middle-aged, bald man critic mode – if you are looking for something to stream, “Knives Out” is much more entertaining than the multitude of sequels and re-makes released by Hollywood last year.

Photo Credit (Unknown, but happy to give credit)

License:  Fair Use/Education (from linked article)

Real Life Agatha Christie

You might have seen this piece of news. A 46 year Chicagoland man won $1 million in the lottery, but died of cyanide poisoning before he could claim the winnings. The police just started investigating the poisoning. As everyone who watches police/crime TV knows, to solve this crime look for the person with a motive. His widow claims he did not have any enemies. I have not read whether he had a will. If he did not, the winnings would pass via the statue of intestate succession.

In Ohio, if a person dies without a will, his assets will be distributed as follows:

1. If survived by a spouse, all to spouse.
2. If not survived by a spouse, all to children.
3. If survived by a spouse, but children from a previous relationship, $20K and 1/3 to spouse (1/2 if only one child from previous relationship).

Because I do not want to defame anyone, I will keep my probably wrong theory to myself. Instead, I will just say that I wonder how someone not in an Agatha Christie novel can quickly procure cyanide.

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All Posts By Jay Brinker

I am an attorney located in Cincinnati, Ohio who practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, asset protection, and small business advice. I make a difficult and bewildering process as simple as possible. Most importantly, I provide "more for less" for my clients.