TV Law is Entertainment by Pauline G. Dembicki
In an episode of I Love Lucy, Lucy wants to be in the show at Ricky’s nightclub. He objects.
In his efforts to trick her, he tells her he went to a lawyer to make a will. Lucy panics, thinking he is dying. Ricky said he is fine and that the lawyer suggested Lucy have one too. The documents arrive in the mail and they sign them. Ricky asks Lucy to return the documents in person to keep her away from rehearsal.
It’s entertaining, but it has faults that can be misleading. Here are some of the problems.
1. A lawyer cannot prepare a will on the directions of a third party. Lucy has the right to say who will receive her estate and who will be in charge.
2. Some lawyers are especially careful and interview the spouses separately so that they understand that the terms of the will are not joint decisions unless they agree.
3. Wills require formality in execution. That means when you sign your will, one or two witnesses need to sign and state that they believed you were of sound mind and memory and that they saw you sign in their presence. This is called the attestation clause.
4. The best time to make a will is not when you get bad news from the doctor.
The lesson from this episode is that law is used for entertainment everywhere. It’s the basis for books, movies, magazines, and television programs to name a few. We can't help but absorb a little of it unconsciously.
You shouldn't wait to make a will. Your legal advice should come directly from an attorney.
This article is not legal advice. It is intended as general information about our legal system.
© Pauline G. Dembicki 2020