My story of John Wayne’s will dates back to a hot summer day in 1979; while at my desk I received a phone call from an attorney who was a partner in one of the major Los Angeles law firms. My job at the time was in sales for a newspaper published specifically for attorneys. I had been attempting to get business from this particular attorney for many years.
This was my first opportunity to do some work for him. I was asked to file a Probate Petition and the original will of John Wayne at the Orange County Superior Court. I immediately went to his office to pick up the papers and headed down to Santa Ana.
Upon arriving at the probate window of the Orange County Superior Court, I presented the documents for filing. The clerk behind the counter took one look at the documents and turned to his fellow clerks and announced to everyone that the original will of John Wayne and probate was submitted for filing.
Immediately, a number of clerks from throughout the office gathered to look at the will document. When the excitement died down the probate papers and the will were processed; I took copies back to the attorney and the long journey of probating John Wayne’s estate began.
I obtained this particular copy of his will about 7 or 8 years ago after meeting with a client while preparing his estate plan and conservatorship to care for his developmentally disabled son. The son was a big fan of John Wayne.
When I asked the son if he would like a copy of John Wayne’s will, his face lit up. I then sent someone to the Orange County Probate Court to obtain the copy and delivered it to a very happy young man.