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Legal Battle Ensues Over Body of Legendary Athlete Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe is one of the most prolific and iconic athletes in American history; and in the early 20th century, he was known for being truly great at numerous sports, including football, basketball, baseball and track and field. He won Olympic medals and played in multiple professional sports leagues in America. He died at the age of 64; and upon his death in 1953, his third wife declared that Thorpe — who was born in Oklahoma — would be buried in a new Pennsylvania town that would take his name.

Now, that may seem confusing, considering it would seem like Thorpe would have some sort of documentation that explains where he wants to be buried. However, Thorpe died without a will, and the surviving spouse was granted the right to bury her spouse as she wanted.

That has sparked a legal battle over the remains of Thorpe. The town of Jim Thorpe — posthumously named after the man, who has a burial site and a museum to honor him in the town — wants to retain his remains, while Thorpe’s sons want him exhumed and brought back to Oklahoma. Thorpe’s third wife passed away some time ago.

It goes without saying that everyone needs to address their estate in a timely manner so that their assets and remains are handled the way they want. Drafting a will can be daunting and intimidating; but with some help, your will can address a lot of the issues involved in executing your estate. A will can prevent messy legal issues from causing your family more pain and grief.

Source: Pike County Courier, “Pa. town appeals to keep body of Jim Thorpe,” Michael Rubinkam, Sept. 24, 2013

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