San Diego: Have you ever wondered why part of our freeway system is named Ted Williams Parkway? How does this impact an estate plan in his case?
Most San Diegans remember when the Ted Williams Parkway off Interstate 15 was named in honor of Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams. But do you know why it was named in his honor?
Ted Williams grew up in North Park in San Diego and attended Hoover High School where he played baseball. He signed with the Padres, then a minor league team, before joining the Boston Red Sox in 1939. He had an amazing career in major league baseball, with 2 MVP awards and 2 Triple Crown awards. A left-hander and incredible hitter, he, along with Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth, is a member of the 500 club, for hitting more than 500 home runs in a season.. In 1992 Ted Williams was here in San Diego for the dedication of SR-56 east of I-15 now known as Ted Williams Parkway.
Ted Williams is also famous, or maybe infamous, for another reason. In 2002 after Ted Williams died, a dispute arose over the disposition of his body. John-Henry Williams, Ted’s son, had the body flown to Scottsdale, Arizona where his head and body were surgically separated and put into cryonic suspension at Alcor Life Extension Foundation. His head was put in one cylinder and the rest of his body upright in another. Barbara Joy Ferrell, Ted’s daughter by his first wife, said her father wished to be cremated and his ashes spread over the Florida keys where he frequently fished. The dispute pitted family member against family member as each had different theories as to what their father would have wanted.
This very public and macabre ending to the baseball star’s life and death illustrates the importance of having your wishes specifically set out in a will or trust. Ted Williams had a will made in 1996 but his son John-Henry found a handwritten piece of paper dated November 2000 which he claimed was signed by his father and set out Ted’s wish to be frozen at Alcor. If you have specific wishes about what should happen to your body upon your death, it should be spelled out in a valid legal document to avoid disputes among family members after your death. You can specify whether you want burial or cremation or some other disposition such as cryonic suspension.
Contact us at Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation for a complimentary consultation about estate planning documents to insure your post-death wishes are carried out. Please feel free to e mail or call us.