William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg in conversation 1991 – 8 (Legal Matters)

Our Ginsberg-Burroughs conversation concludes today with the two discussing their plans for legal arrangements and for the establishment of their respective estates.

AG: How have you disposed of your property after your death?

WSB. Pardon?

AG: How have you disposed of your property after your death?

WSB: Ah,,

AG: Mostly James?

WSB: Mostly James, yes – with , you know, at his discretion…

AG: I think I told you, I’ve left forty percent to my brother’s children,

WSB: To your what?

AG: To my brother’s children, forty percent to Peter, ten percent to Bob Rosenthal,and then little bequests of, like, a couple of thousand each to Lucien and Gregory and Steven Taylor

WSB: That sounds reasonable. Well..

AG: I may have to increase it to Bob Rosenthal

WSB: I mostly gave James sort of authority for a small bequest..

AG: Yeah

WSB: …but, well.. they’re coming at me anyway.

AG: You ought to leave a…

WSB: Pardon?

AG: Well. I’d like to leave a little for Huncke, a little for Lucien, for people that I knew a long time.

WSB: I know.

AG: Some little gift, you know.

WS: Some little.. yes. Well, that’s more or less what I’m doing, and..

AG: Do you have a.. let’s see now.. what I have from Ira Lowe, I just went down to Washington and..

WSB: Yes, I have a written will.

AG: A written will, but also another thing that he just set up for me, which was a… let’s see a…thing where it transfers it..

WS: It was a what?

AG: It transfers it over to a certain kind of estate that I control, so that it avoids being stuck in probate for a long period of time –  a “Living Trust“, do you know what that is?

WSB: Yes, a trust that goes on so long as someone else is alive.

AG; You know what that is?  Do you have that?

WSB: No.

AG: It’s very useful he said, because what it does is it avoids everything being held up forever in probate, or held up for a long period of time in probate, that it can be immediately acted on and disposed of, without being frozen by the courts.

WSB: Yeah.

AG:  You might check that out. Who’s your lawyer?

WSB: Gene Winick

AG: Who?

WSB: Gene Winick

AG: Ask them about “Living Trust”.

WSB: He’s very good, He’s with the Gitlin firm  (Ernst, Cane,Berner & Gitlin) that I  have worked with for many years with very good results. Now..

AG:  Because Ira Lowe just had me in Washington. We signed a thing which is a Living Trust.

WSB: I’ll find about that.

AG: Called “Living Trust”

WSB: Gene Winick was here. Well, he’s this middle-aged Jewish lawyer from the big city.

AG: We know of him.

WSB: So we got up to Fred’s (his friend, Fred Aldrich’s farm), and he said, “Well, you know, you’ve probably never fired a gun before”, So (then he goes) pow! pow! pow! – all his targets were like that!

AG: Bulls-eye(s)?

WSB  He’s an expert shot. Isn’t that something?  He shot better.. he shot better than I did!

AG Had he known before?

WSB: Maybe..  He said, “Oh yes, I took some target practice”. He was, sort of, you know, being very mysterious – “Well, yes, I used to belong to a club and I took some target practice” – but “target practice”, baby? – he was an expert shot!

AG: Well, well!

WSB: Yes. A very nice person.  He’s a very very great diplomat. He sort of  mediated between us and Ted Morgan.

AG: How did that work out, by the way?

WSB: It’s winding down Ted sends me book reviews on the English edition [of Morgan’s Burroughs biography]

AG: So There’s a little bit of reconciliation.

WSB: Yes..so..yes.. I didn’t put…  (tape ends in media res here)

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately forty-three minutes in, and concluding at the end of the tape] 

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