Lauren Bacall's Estate Documents Show How Estate Planning Helps You Provide for Your Loved Ones


Actress Lauren Bacall, who passed away in August at the age of 89, left behind a $26.6 million estate. Her estate documents, filed in New York Surrogate’s Court on August 22, illustrate the many ways in which proper planning ensures that assets will be distributed wisely.

Two of Bacall’s longtime employees were named as heirs in her will. Her maid Ilsa Hernandez was left $15,000 and assistant Maria Santos was awarded $20,000.

A longtime animal lover, Bacall took precautions to ensure that her pet would be cared for after her passing. Bacall’s beloved dog Sophie was awarded $10,000 for her continuing care, with the money going to one of Bacall’s sons to be used on Sophie’s behalf.

Bacall’s grandsons were each awarded $250,000. The money is set aside for their college education, with the children gaining access to any overage in the accounts once they turn thirty. This stipulation is nothing unusual, as many people worry about giving people in their twenties access to large sums of money.

The remainder of Bacall’s estate will be split between her three children, including the rights to her likeness, film royalties, and book royalties. However, Bacall’s will did ask that the children respect her wish to keep certain forms of memorabilia, including personal letters and diary entries, out of the public eye. This request likely relates to her marriage to Casablanca star Humphrey Bogart, the father of two of her children.

The 25-year age difference between Bacall and Bogart made their relationship the subject of intense media speculation. But, unlike many relationships in which one spouse is significantly older, Bogart made sure his family’s needs would be met. After he died from esophageal cancer in 1957, he left a large trust to provide for the needs of his wife and children. In her will, Bacall left the remainder of the funds in the trust to her children.

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