Building Legacies that Last Estate Planning and Elder Law

The Great Harry Houdini’s Estate Plan

 

Harry Houdini, an escape artist, was most known magician of the 20th century. He amazed his crowds with tricks such as The Overboard Box Escape and the East Indian Needle Trick. After Houdini died from complications due to a ruptured appendix on October 31, 1926, his estate plan was and still remains one of the best. In 1924, Harry had created a 23 clause long will that was detailed to the max and updated just one year after. In his great will, Houdini gave $500 dollars to his three assistants, $1000 to the Society of American Magicians, and the rest of his estate portions would be liquidated and distributed to each member of his family over periods of time. Two unique aspects of his estate included that: 1/6th of the estate should go to his wife, and whoever received a portion of his estate must have been confirmed according to the Jewish law and traditions. Along with the liquidation and separating his money, he also gave his theatrical effects and tricks to his younger brother, and up and coming magician, Theodore, relying on the fact that he should not share it to the world. For his most valuable books, Houdini gave them all away to the Library of Congress for safekeeping. Even though Harry’s estate plan stated that each member of his family should receive a portion, Sadie Weiss, Houdini’s sister-in-law, received none due to the fact that he disliked her for marrying his one brother, Nathan, and then his younger brother Leopold. For his wife Beth, she was told to perform a séance until she could finally contact him. Along with being the Best Magician around, Harry Houdini had tricks up his sleeve especially in his estate plan.

Harry Houdini, an escape artist, was most known magician of the 20th century. He amazed his crowds with tricks such as The Overboard Box Escape and the East Indian Needle Trick. After Houdini died from complications due to a ruptured appendix on October 31, 1926, his estate plan was and still remains one of the best. In 1924, Harry had created a 23 clause long will that was detailed to the max and updated just one year after. In his great will, Houdini gave $500 dollars to his three assistants, $1000 to the Society of American Magicians, and the rest of his estate portions would be liquidated and distributed to each member of his family over periods of time. Two unique aspects of his estate included that: 1/6th of the estate should go to his wife, and whoever received a portion of his estate must have been confirmed according to the Jewish law and traditions. Along with the liquidation and separating his money, he also gave his theatrical effects and tricks to his younger brother, and up and coming magician, Theodore, relying on the fact that he should not share it to the world. For his most valuable books, Houdini gave them all away to the Library of Congress for safekeeping. Even though Harry’s estate plan stated that each member of his family should receive a portion, Sadie Weiss, Houdini’s sister-in-law, received none due to the fact that he disliked her for marrying his one brother, Nathan, and then his younger brother Leopold. For his wife Beth, she was told to perform a séance until she could finally contact him. Along with being the Best Magician around, Harry Houdini had tricks up his sleeve especially in his estate plan.

Michelle Profit is an estate planning attorney serving Maryland and the District of Columbia. A Harvard Law School graduate, she has worked in the financial services industry for over 20 years. A dedicated advocate for all of her clients,

Michelle Q. Profit personally handles each client case from start to finish to meet the client’s needs and objectives. Michelle listens in the consultation sessions and works with any other client accountants or financial planners to create a comprehensive estate plan.

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