What?! Here’s What Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Will Says About Her Final Wishes

What?! Here's What Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Will Says About Her Final Wishes

The will of Supreme Court Justice  Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been made public, and what it reveals about her final wishes may surprise you! In the will, dated in 2004 and signed by Ginsburg herself, she made it clear that her husband, Martin Ginsburg, will have full control over her burial until he passes away himself. Additionally, after his death, she asked that her children be the ones to decide how to dispose of her body.

Items in   will

For one, Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her will that if she dies from natural causes she doesn’t want her body on display. But if she passes away from something else, then a pathologist should take care of the autopsy and her remains should be turned over to a medical school for research purposes. In addition,  Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated that no clergy or

even an officiant of any kind would be present at her funeral services or burial. And last but not least is the 5-word stipulation for those who end up living in her Washington home: No hugs, please.

How does Ruth Bader Ginsburg plan on being buried?

In her will, RBG wrote: I further direct that my body be placed in a simple inexpensive urn and that it be buried in the cemetery in which my husband Frank is buried.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg also asks for her possible final resting place to have easy access to public transportation and a few flights of stairs.

No big surprises there. But what about who will inherit everything? That’s where things get interesting. RBG has left behind an estate worth $14 million to the legal fund she founded with her friend Jane Roe (the co-author of On Women Getting Equal). The organization now called the Notorious R.B.G.,

supports career development for female lawyers. She has also left $150,000 to each one of her four granddaughters and an equal amount to all five of her great-grandchildren, but if anyone grandchild or great-grandchild dies before she does, their share goes back into the pot until it’s finally passed on.

Did she leave her beloved dog, D.G.?

She leaves her dogs, popular NPR news anchor Nina Totenberg, and many other friends and acquaintances a valuable token of her affection. She also has requested that provisions be made for her dressmaker as well as her trainer.

Totenberg reportedly received her most prized possession: Justice Ginsburg’s 18-karat gold dissenting gorilla pin from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Did  Ruth Bader Ginsburg name a successor?

Unfortunately, RBG did not specifically mention a successor to the Supreme Court. Instead, she mentioned three people she would like nominated by President Obama: Judge Paul Watford of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland.

She added that should any one nominee decline to serve or be under-qualified for any reason, then Mr. Obama should consider choosing from his list again – with her own opinion about their relative merit ranking as the primary guide and nothing else!

Did she have any favorite charities?

To figure out if RBG followed the typical path of a successful woman and donated her wealth, we need to take a look at her will. She explicitly left 100 dollars each to her caregiver and her chef in the document. She also left money for expenses that arise from funerals, which typically cost around $5,000-10,000. But other than that? There was no more money to give away!

So, while RBG is certainly generous, it looks like she didn’t have too much money to give away during her lifetime. However, that doesn’t mean there’s no way for us to benefit from her generosity now! When we look at what charities she supported over her lifetime—the leading indicator of which ones she cared about—we see a different story.

RBG donated 600 dollars to Planned Parenthood in 1999 and more than $5,000 towards research against domestic violence by 1994. That same year, she also gave away money towards providing clothing to homeless people who live in New York City.

Did  Ruth Bader Ginsburg give away all her money?

While the document is not available to read in full, it is stated that she left her entire estate, worth an estimated $125K and generated during her lifetime, to a few individual beneficiaries with the express purpose of avoiding probate. These include:

William J. Brennan Jr., a former colleague on the Court whom she referred to as her closest friend, both before he passed away in 1997 and thereafter; something called the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Charitable Fund, which appears to be established by Mrs. Ginsburg but maintained by Cornell University Library; her niece Anna K. Bogachefsky; Claudia Catcheway, Director of Preservation at Georgetown Law Library and executrix of her will; and one other person whose identity remains anonymous.

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