Writen by: Lena Sarsour
If you follow this blog, then you’ll know at Yaser Ali Law we love discovering estate planning stories and secrets. You’ve read about a famous celebrity’s lack of planning and digital Pokémon, but this story from the New Yorker magazine a few months ago really caught our attention. In this current climate of heightened Islamophobia and an election season filled with divisiveness, the author of this quintessentially American story, Kathryn Schulz brings us the fascinating account of a Muslim man from Wyoming in the early 1900s who “made it” selling Halal Mexican food.
That’s right. Muslims have been present in Wyoming for over one hundred years! And they’ve been selling Halal Mexican food this whole time! The story began in the early 1900s when a young Afghan immigrant named Zarif Khan who opened up a small restaurant in Sheridan, Wyoming selling tamales. Known as “Hot Tamale Louie,” Khan would slaughter his own Halal meat and prepare legendary tamales 7 days a week 52 weeks a year. Not only did Khan sell tamales, but he was known for the best burgers in town. Until this day, citizens of Sheridan continue to discuss the deliciousness of Khan’s cuisine. Despite his entrepreneurial success, the federal government stripped him of his citizenship on the basis of his skin color before repatriating him decades later – nearly 50 years after moving to Wyoming.
Khan’s story is fascinating – for so many reasons. But what made us intrigued was the fact that Khan was smart enough to leave behind a will for his family. Unlike wealthy celebrities such as Prince, who left behind 300 million dollars without a will, Khan recognized the importance of ordering his affairs and leaving his family with one last gift. And it turns out, despite his simple lifestyle, after probating his will, everyone was shocked to learn that his estate was worth half a million dollars (or about $4 million in today’s dollars) which he left behind to his wife and children.
After his wife realized how much Khan had left behind, she sued for more money from his estate and won. We know all of this because of his will, which is a public document. However, Khan could have avoided public scrutiny by creating a trust. As a result, we believe everyone should have an estate plan in order to protect their families and properties. So whether you’re selling tamales or working at any other type of business, creating an estate plan can help ensure you don’t leave your loved ones empty-handed