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Jackie Cooper's Will -- The Poison Pill Clause

5/9/2011 2:15 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Before he died, Hollywood legend Jackie Cooper wanted to make sure NOBODY challenged his last will and testament ... and to make sure, he wrote in a special provision intended to SCREW anyone who challenges his final wishes.

Jackie Cooper Will

TMZ obtained a copy of Cooper's final will -- filed in L.A. County Superior Court two days after the "Superman" actor passed away last week.

According to the docs, Cooper basically willed everything to his wife -- but because she died before him -- the estate will be divided equally between their children.

And to prevent the kids from a nasty fight over the money -- Cooper wrote in a clause saying if anyone tries to contest the will, "I give to such persons so contesting or objecting the sum of FIVE DOLLARS ($5.00) and no more."

FYI -- provisions to this effect are sometimes referred to as a "poison pill clause" -- because any person who would be dumb enough to challenge the will is killing any chance of getting anything out of the estate.

45 COMMENTS

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16.

Superman    

Who is he married to?!? His wife died in 2009. And why would the children contest the will when they each get the same?

1233 days ago
17.

Stephanie    

by writing the story this way you make his children sound bad -- as if he thought there would be t rouble. Please show me a will written by a lawyer that does not include this. this is BAD journalism

1233 days ago
18.

Anya    

A very wise move. He wanted to be sure he rested in peace.

1233 days ago
19.

Chris    

@Scott: That's VERY poor legal advice. Yes, a will *is* enforceable, and an executor who fails to follow the will has, in many states, committed a crime. Further, a will *can* provide for what happens when his wife dies; there are several possible ways, but the most common is a trust. If it's set up correctly, the beneficiary of the trust has no ability to change the ultimate disposition of the monies.

The example you provide (of the cemetery) has several possible explanations: the executor did something illegal but just didn't get turned in because other heirs did not object; the will itself did not contain a requirement re: burial (expressing a wish is not the same as establishing an enforceable requirement); the estate did not have the money for a burial, and probably other possibilities. You don't provide enough detail to say for sure what happened, but "you do not have any rights once you pass" is not the whole story, because your estate most certainly does.

1233 days ago
20.

Carl    

Your description is misleading TMZ. The poison pill clause only applies if the will is challenged and the challenger LOSES. If he wins his challenge then it means the will wasn't up to snuff legally and the judge then decides how to divide things up.

1233 days ago
21.

MariJoy    

And why the hell not? My money, my WILL be done.

1233 days ago
22.

mbumble    

Don't you guys have a 30 day clause in California?

1233 days ago
23.

Sean    

What is everyone complaining about.... it's pretty simple really. Everything goes to his wife, since his wife has passed, it defaults to dividing said estate evenly amongst the children. What is there to contest if everyone is getting an equal share? Illegitimate child maybe? Saying you have no rights after your dead is nonsensical. In my case, there was no such clause, and siblings fought... until the estate was bled dry... 3/4 mil each = zero. lawyers + state = winners

1233 days ago
24.

CCC    

Before I die, I'm going to spend every dime I have. Oh wait, I don't have any money. Never mind.

1233 days ago
25.

lee    

HEY SCOTT!! The wife is dead! Read it all man.

1233 days ago
26.

spyke    

I don't think anyone has the right to contest someone's will but people get pretty greedy. I suppose in cases where an elderly person is being influenced by some sleazebag is one thing but the family needs to step in before death. I always found it interesting that Anna Nicole's inlaws went after her but did anyone question why a filthy old pervert was interested in marrying a stripper in the first place? barf

1233 days ago
27.

Scott    

@ Chris

Let me repeat when you die "YOU HAVE NO RIGHTS" the person you appoint to oversea your setate is in charge period. Nothing illegal about making a decison "on behalf" of the estate as the executor/executrix. Simply put when you die you have put your "faith" in the hands of whoever you choose "period"!

They have absolutely no legal obligation to follow your wishes. I have first hand cremated Jews that went through the holocast becaus ethe nok was offended by the money left to them.

Your "ESTATE" is your executor/executrix don't you get it? Yes you have a say it who gets what with your will but you have no say over what is done with your remains. Further if your executor/executrix who inherits your estate wants to give it all to the kitty litter fund they canj cause it is now their money.....you no longer exisit@!

Peace.

1233 days ago
28.

Hisjules    

test

1233 days ago
29.

Bird    

Scott 3 hours ago

That's really funny cause after you die you have absolutely "NO RIGHTS" yes he put in a blurb about 5 bucks each but it's up to his executor, in this case his wife what she does period!

Now that he is dead he has no right to say where the money will be going when his wife dies. That is completely up to her period end of sentance. If she wants she could donate all of it to her cats!

heed the warning people you do not have any rights once you pass. I worked in a cemetery for 15 years and saw many people cremated who wanted to be buried and the land sold back because the executor was upset over the amount of money they got in the will.

Choose very very very carefully.

Peace.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Did you even read the article you dumbass? His wife died BEFORE him..Pfft..I love how people leave retarded comments without even reading the story..SMH

1233 days ago
30.

kristine    

i contest it! its an easy 5 dollars!

1233 days ago
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