Pope John Paul II’s personal notes have been published in a newly released book. The book, "Very Much in God's Hands. Personal Notes 1962-2003", was released in Poland earlier this week to a great deal of controversy.

That is because the person behind the book, Rev. Stanislaw Dziwisz, the long-time personal secretary for the Pontiff, was tasked with destroying the notes. In his will, Pope John Paul II instructed his aide of 40 years to “Burn my personal notes.”

As reported here, lawyers in Poland are not sure whether or not Rev. Dziwisz broke any law by disobeying the late Pontiff’s will. That is because in Poland, executors are rarely named in a will. Some commentators have even remarked that it is unclear whether or not Rev. Dziwisz was an executor under Polish law.

One of the advantages of preparing a written estate plan of your own, is that you get to choose who your executor or successor trustee is. In the absence of your written nomination, a court would decide who gets that important role. Additionally, an executor or successor trustee must follow your written wishes. If they do not, the can be forced to do so by a court or any beneficiary.

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Chuck Roulet
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Nationally Recognized Estate Planning Attorney, Author, and Speaker
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