Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

So tell me how you really feel?

SchwartzsA will is a property transfer document, similar to a deed.  The basic difference is the a deed is effective upon delivery while a will does not take effect until death.  As a method of property transfer, a will is not the appropriate place for a person to extol the evils or virtues of family members.  Nonetheless, many people cannot resist the compulsion to leave one final biting message as described in Alex Ginsberg, Slain Couple's Weird Will, NY Post, Aug. 26, 2008:

  • Mark Schwartz and Christina-Maria Petrowski-Schwartz were murdered in their Brooklyn home in July 2008.
  • Several unsigned drafts of wills were found. Thus, it is unlikely that any of the provisions discussed below will actually be effective.
  • Here are some of the provisions of Mark's documents:
    • "To my brother who I know hopes to be in my will, well, here you are."
    • I leave my brother "the sum of zero ($0.00) dollars. I believe this sum is fitting, as you are probably the most greedy person I know."
    • "So, Robert [brother], you have a choice, you can come to my grave sit to say hello out of love or piss on me for not giving you money."
    • He wanted to be buried at sea but if that was not possible, suggested "a beach party with strippers."
    • He left $25,000 to some of his friends on the condition that they do not tell their wives so "they may not get their hands on same."
    • He placed curses on various people if he did not get a proper burial such as for electricity never to work, radios not to play, and guns never to shoot.
  • Here are some of the provisions of Christina's documents:
    • She left $10,000 to a battered women's shelter in the name of her ex-husband.
    • She gave $1 each to her mother, father, and siblings because they had a "distorted version of Catholicism" and "were never there for myself or my children."

Special thanks to Jeffrey A. Yates (Senior Associate Attorney, Albin|Harrison|Roach, Plano, Texas) for bringing this article to my attention.


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