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Edward Albee's drastic estate planning does not surprise friends

The news has been full of stories of artists and creative geniuses who have left their estates to chance. Not only have these great minds named no one to protect and manage their art, they have left unpublished and incomplete works with no instructions for their use. Not so with playwright Edward Albee, who died in 2016. With careful estate planning, Mr. Albee has left clear instructions to his estate executors.

Oklahoma fans of Edward Albee certainly recognize the titles of his best known works, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," stage adaptations of Nabokov's "Lolita" and Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's," and the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "The Goat, or Who is Sylvia," among dozens. Just prior to his death, Albee was working on "Laying an Egg," which was set to open off-Broadway as soon as it was completed by the exacting playwright's standards. However, that play and many other incomplete works may never see the footlights.

Albee left clear instructions in his will for his executors to destroy any manuscripts left unfinished at the time of his death. Those who knew the writer are not surprised by his decision. Albee was secretive and protective of his work and was known for criticizing an actor's performance for not placing enough emphasis on a comma. By calling for the destruction of his unfinished works, Albee was simply maintaining the control he always kept over his writing.

Edward Albee must have understood that estate planning is the surest way of protecting one's assets and directing the future of those things that are most important. While those in Oklahoma may not have Pulitzer Prizes, they may have small businesses or substantial savings they have spent a lifetime building. The advice of an attorney can assist them in protecting those assets with careful planning.

Source:, "Playwright Edward Albee's Incomplete Works May Never See The Light Of Day", Jeff Lunden, July 5, 2017

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