In 2013, Ray Fulk, a 71 year old Illinois man, left his half million dollar estate to two actors he had never met. According to the deceased’s estate planning attorney, he left his estates assets to the actors because they were friends of his, despite the fact that they had never actually met in person. The beneficiaries of the estate assets, actors Kevin Brophy and Peter Barton, were understandably surprised to hear that they were the recipients of the decedent’s estate valued at more than $1 million.
Faulk lived alone on a 160 acre estate in Lincoln, Illinois. He apparently inherited the estate from his father and since he never married and had no children, he decided to leave the estate to the two actors whom he obviously admired. Barton is best known for his role of Dr. Scott Grainger on the “Young and the Restless” in the late 80s and early 90s. Brophy appeared in the 1977 show “Lucan.” The pair also appeared together in the 1981 movie “Hell Night”.
Although the estate planning attorney who prepared the decedent’s Last Will and Testament noted that this was one of the “oddest things I have ever had to deal with in 30 plus years of practicing law”, bequests such as these are not all that unusual. When a decedent has no living relatives, the decision may be made to leave estate assets to a charity, or in this case, to people whom the decedent admired. The important thing is that by reducing his wishes to writing in the form of a Will, the decedent ensured that those wishes, although somewhat unusual, were honored when he died.