Marlon Brando’s Story
Marlon Brando was one of the most admired—and unconventional—actors of all time. In 1973 he rejected his Academy Award for Best Actor for The Godfather to protest the treatment of Native Americans by the film industry. When he died in 2004 at the age of 80, his long-time housekeeper Angela Borlaza came forward to claim that he had promised that she would inherit his house. Unfortunately for her, there was nothing about that in the will, and she eventually settled for a fraction of its value.
Lawyer’s comment: Courts work from a presumption that your will includes all of your wishes about your property. In most cases, an oral promise not included in the will won’t hold up. Make sure that the people you care about receive everything you promised them by putting your wishes in writing in your will. Specific, detailed instructions in your will can help prevent complications when you are gone.