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Mathison's Missing Will

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Melissa Mathison's most famous work is the screenplay for the movie E.T. However, she was also famous for being the ex-wife of actor Harrison Ford.

The couple's divorce was the subject of much gossip as Mathison walked away with a settlement of $85 million, which included royalties from movies Ford was in while the two were married including Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

The Daily Mail reports that no one can find Mathison's original will in "E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison leaves $22m fortune... but original copy of her will cannot be found."

The article correctly points out that in California it might not be necessary for the original will to be found. A copy of the will is allowed in the state as long as no one contests the estate.

However, the article is a bit misleading in that it suggests who will receive Mathison's estate is unknown because the will cannot be found.

If, as the report indicates, Mathison's fortune is in a trust, then the missing will does not determine who gets her fortune. Instead, the trust agreement should govern who gets what. For that neither the original nor a copy of her will needs to be found.

There is another lesson here, of course.

An original will should always be stored where someone else knows where it is and can find it. It does no good to take the time to create a will if it cannot be found after you pass away.

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