Top 10 Weirdest Wills…
1 November 2019 by Andrea Godfrey
- The Rose :
Jack Benny was a US comedian and when he died in 1974 he left an instruction in his Will that every day a florist was to deliver one long-stemmed red rose to his widow Mary for the rest of her life. They had been married for 47 years and she lasted a whole decade after he died.
- My Second Best Bed
In 1616 William Shakespeare left his “second-best bed” to poor Anne Hathaway – the rest of his estate went to his daughter.
- A legacy to “to clear the national debt”
In 1928 a very kind anonymous member of the public donated £500k to Britain. However the request was specific and stated the money cannot be given until it is enough to clear the national debt in full. As the total national debt is currently estimated at £1.7 trillion the gift will probably never be made!
- $12m to Trouble ….. the family dog
In 2004, Leona Helmsley who was a very wealthy hotelier (but also convicted of tax evasion), left instructions that most of her $4 billion (£2.5 billion) estate was to be spent caring for her dogs. Trouble was her nine-year-old Maltese and he alone was left £8 million. Her grandchildren were either left out of the Will or told that they had to visit their father’s grave every year to inherit their share. She certainly lived up to her name the Queen of Mean!
- Lads Holiday on me!
Roger Brown sadly died of cancer in 2013. He left a legacy of £3500 to each of his closest friends of over 40 years (7 of them) in the proviso that they had a boozy weekend in a European City. It’s understood they went to Berlin. Prost!
- Random selection from the phone book
Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral de Camara from Portugal was filthy rich and had no children and not many friends – despite a 12 bedroom apartment in central Lisbon and many other luxurious assets. So he decided to choose who would receive his fortune by plucking names randomly from the phone book. He chose 70 people in total.
- A Million Flowers for Sidmouth
Keith Owen who was a Canadian banker, sadly died of cancer and his estate was worth over £2.3 million. His favourite holiday venue was Sidmouth, Devon so he gave the money to the Sid Vale Association to support local projects but with a condition that some of it was to be spent planting one million flower bulbs.
- You will marry!
Frank Mandelbaum’s knew that his son Robert was gay but when he died in 2007, he stipulated in his Will that Robert’s children would not inherit should Robert “not be married to the child’s mother within six months of the child’s birth.” Cooper (Robert’s son) was born via a surrogate
- It’s my party and I will cry if I want to
Robert Louis Stevenson found out in 1891 that Annie, who was the daughter of Henry Ide (the Commissioner to Samoa), was not impressed that her birthday was on Christmas Day. So in his Will Robert gifted his birthday (13th November) to her.
- Breaking Wind
Albert Orton was born in 1888 and from Coventry. He died aged 70 but in his Will he only left his wife one farthing. The legend is that he got wound up because she called him a ‘rotten old pig’ every time he broke wind.
Whilst this is all in jest, we must remember that your Will is an incredibly important document and it should be taken seriously. However we all like a good joke and it is possible to achieve this through a non legally binding letter of wishes.
Contact Fisher Jones Greenwood about putting your affairs in order by calling 01206 700113 or emailing [email protected].
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