Warren E. Burger (1907-1995) – 15TH Chief Justice of the United States
In 1969, President Richard M. Nixon nominated Warren Burger to the Chief Justice position. Burger had first caught Nixon’s eye through a letter of support he sent to Nixon during the 19522 Fund crises. Burger was known as an advocate of a literal, strict-constructionist reading the U.S. Constitution. Nixon agreed with these views led to the appointment. Although Burger was a conservative, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a variety of transforming decisions on abortion, capital punishment, religious establishment, and school desegregation during his tenure. On issues involving criminal law and procedure, Burger remained reliably conservative.
Burger died in 1995 of congestive heart failure at the age of 87 with a $1.8 million estate and a one-page Will he drafted himself. It has been written that his estate was diminished by 25% due to estate taxes. One thing is for sure, if Chief Justice had consulted an estate planning attorney, they would have suggested that he create a living trust to avoid the probate process and public scrutiny of his Will and estate.
Chief Justice Warren Burger was an accomplished attorney and an intelligent jurist, but even a prominent attorney can fail to properly plan. If you want to minimize your estate planning taxes and/or avoid the probate process, then contact The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. for a free initial consultation on estate planning, trust planning, and/or probate issues.