The Story of Former Mayor of East Saginaw Wellington R. Burt’s Last Will
One of the strangest stories of spite and what could possibly be the biggest form of shade thrown at one's family in Michigan history may have come at the hands of the former Mayor of East Saginaw Wellington R. Burt back when he passed away in 1919. It's historically noted that Burt spent his final years living alone in his mansion with his hired help, with no contact with any friends or family. After his passing, the discovery of his last will did everything to keep his family away from his roughly $40 to $90 million wealth:
Burt had one of the more bizarre wills in American legal history. It contained a "spite clause" which specified to wait until his children and grandchildren were dead before the estate could be dispersed to any descendants yet unborn in Burt's lifetime. Burt's will stipulated the majority of the estate to be held in a trust until "21 years after [the death of] my last surviving grandchild [who was alive] at the time of my death." This condition was met in 2010, 21 years after the November 1989 death of Burt's last grandchild, Marion Lansill.
After about 92 years in May 2011, Burt's descendants received the estate from their Great grandfather, which estimated in total at $100 million to $110 million.
The mansion which he once resided in was set to be torn down for demolition, but was saved by the Saginaw Historical Society and will now be restored as an office space, gift shop and a historical information center for the city.
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