Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Andre Norton -- What did she really want?

Norton_andreAndre Norton was a writer of hundreds of science fiction novels over her 70 year career.  She died on March 15, 2005.

A dispute is now being waged over her will and how it disposes of the rights to her books.

The following information is from Kristin M. Hall, Sci-fi author’s estate embroiled in will dispute, MSNBC.com, July 7, 2008:

  • Andre had no children or close relatives.
  • Victor Horadam (lifelong friend and fan of her writings) is to receive "the royalties from all posthumous publication of any of my works."
  • Sue Stewart (her caregiver) is Andre's residuary beneficiary.
  • The alleged ambiguity in the will is the meaning of the term "posthumous publication" -- does it mean the publication of any of her books which occurs after she dies or does it mean only the publication of books which were not yet published at the time of her death?
  • As evidence, Sue has a video of Andre explaining that she wants her entire estate to go to Sue.
  • A Tennessee judge has held that "posthumous publication" means any publication of her works that occurs after she dies, including reprints of books that were originally published before her death.
  • Sue has appealed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this situation to my attention.


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All these declarations are like designing a website. So many little intricacies to be aware of it never cease to amaze me....

Posted by: Michael | Jul 24, 2008 2:02:10 PM

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