Elizabeth Edwards left everything in her estate to her children, as stated in her will signed six days before her death. No mention is made of her estranged husband John, who fathered a child by a campaign staffer out of wedlock. The Los Angeles Times reports 28-year-old lawyer Cate Edwards, the couple’s oldest child, is the executor of the will. Cate and her younger siblings Emma Claire, 12, and Jack, 10, inherit everything from Elizabeth’s estate. The wife of a former presidential candidate, Elizabeth passed away Dec. 7, 2010, after losing her battle with cancer.
Elizabeth Edwards isn’t the only famous person in recent history to have snubbed a close relative out of inheriting an estate. Another very prominent example gives a clue as to the sometimes-embattled life of well-known people and their relatives.
Pop singer Michael Jackson died suddenly in June 2009 of cardiac arrest. When his last will and testament was unsealed in California, it had some very interesting details. The Wall Street Journal reports neither of Jackson’s parents knew of the will signed in 2002.
In the will, Jackson stipulates he is no longer married and none of his fortune should go to his former wife Deborah Jean Rowe. Jackson also says his three children, Prince, Paris and Blanket, should come under the guardianship of their paternal grandmother, Katherine Jackson, Michael’s mother. The three children also inherit all of Jackson’s earthly possessions and fortune. Should Katherine be unable to care for his children, soul singer Diana Ross was also named as a possible guardian.
One name completely absent in the will is Jackson’s father, Joe. In an ABC article profiling Jackson’s kids a year after Michael’s death, no mention is made of Joe Jackson and Katherine is busy preparing the kids for school lessons and helping them lead a normal life.
Joe Jackson was already financially secure before his son’s high-profile death, so it should have come as no surprise that the three children should have gotten everything. It was shocking that Joe was not given any parental or guardianship rights whatsoever after Michael’s death. Rumors of Joe being an abusive father had swirled around the Jackson family for many years, and some observers though the postmortem snub may be a testament to that strained relationship.
John Edwards was already a millionaire at the time of his wife’s death. In 2006, CNN stated his net worth was $54.7 million, so being left out of Elizabeth’s will shouldn’t tarnish his finances in the least bit.
D’Zurilla, Christie, “Elizabeth Edwards’ will omits John Edwards,”Los Angeles Times.
Smith, Ethan, “Jackson Will From 2002 In Spotlight,”Wall Street Journal.
Fisher, Luchina, “Jackson Children’s First Year Without Dad,” ABC News.
Harris, Marlys, “Millionaires-in-chief,” CNN Money.