A Beloved Author’s Legacy – A Tidy Estate from Austin Estate Planning Lawyer Liz Nielsen

A Beloved Author’s Legacy – A Tidy Estate

Michael Bond, who passed away back in June of 2017, was an author and the creator of the adventurous, sweet and captivating character, Paddington Bear.  Bond created the marmalade-loving bear from the “darkest Peru” in the late 1950’s out of his memories of refugee children in the Second World War.  He wondered what would happen if an unaccompanied bear turned up at a railway station looking for a home.

The idea would become a multi-million pound publishing sensation and Paddington Bear became a beloved children’s character.  Paddington Bear still is a household name among children due to the numerous books, shows and movies the bear has been featured in. Bond’s success no doubt lead to a large estate of royalties and nostalgic memorabilia.  However unlike most “celebrity” estate stories, this one, comparable to Bond’s own stories, has a happy tidy ending.

Bond’s heirs consisted of his ex-wife, his current spouse, two children and two grandchildren and his total estate value, after taxes, was around 7 million British Pounds. According to reports, Bond was said to have updated his Will in 2014 outlining exactly how he wanted his estate to be distributed.  However, when it comes to personal property problems can often arise among the heirs. Especially for someone like Bond who likely had a variety of sentimental possessions ranging from awards and medals to movie props and original book copies.  Take the original teddy bear, the inspiration for the character, for example. Bond bought that bear in 1956 for his first wife.

According to Predrag Tomic “Bond could have specifically outlined in his Will which items would go to whom.  However, that could become onerous and make the Will unwieldy.  Alternatively, the Will could indicate that Bond would leave a memorandum separate from the Will, which would set out specific wishes for specific property.” Bond also made sure that no more Paddington movies were to be made after he died.

It is essential to meet with an estate planning attorney who will sit down with you and discuss your specific estate, family and concerns. A “Personal Property Memorandum” or an “Assignment of Interest” is not for everyone, but thankfully Bond met with an estate planning attorney, figured out the best plan of action for him, and avoided any contests in probate court.

Nielsen Law PLLC provides family focused estate planning to individuals and families in Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, and the Central Texas area.  For more information and to learn about our firm, please contact us.