A Will is supposed to help surviving family and friends dispose of your estate after you’ve passed away. Many people use it as an opportunity to send a message from beyond the grave, either by punishing potential heirs with nothing or perhaps by giving away something fun or unusual to remember them by.
Where there’s a Will, there’s a way, so make sure you have a good Will before you go away for good. Leaving your instructions for what should happen after your death is a very serious matter. But for some the temptation to cause mischief or raise a smile from beyond the grave is too much to resist.
A Will is not just a list of bequests it’s also a chance to leave I loved one a final thoughtful gesture or show a hopeful group of relatives, how much you preferred spending time with Jasper, your much loved spaniel than Cousin John or Auntie Joan and so leave your entire estate to a known dog charity.
This is not unheard of.
Here are some strange bequests people have left for others in their Wills, in case you should be seeking some inspiration;
- Roger Brown died in 2013 from Cancer, leaving £3,500 to seven of his closest friends, in his declaration it stated they should only use it for a boozy weekend away in a European City. “We would like to formally apologise to Roger’s two sons, Sam and Jack, for taking away some of their inheritance,” beneficiary Roger Rees told the South Wales Evening Post after the friends spent the weekend in Berlin.
- Anne Hathaway aka Mrs Shakespeare, was left the “second best bed”, the bulk of his estate went to his daughter Susanna.
- American Millionaire Wellington Burt used his Will to put his enormous wealth out of reach of his family for almost a full century. When he died in 1919, his Will was discovered to specify that his vast fortune would not be passed on until 21 years after the death of his last surviving grandchild. She died in 1989 and the 21 year countdown ended in November 2010. About 12 people discovered they were beneficiaries of the strange will, described as a “Legacy of bitterness” and they shared a fortune estimated to be worth $110m.
- When Portuguese Aristocrat Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara wrote up his Will, he left his considerable fortune to 70 strangers randomly chosen out of a Lisbon phone directory, it’s stuff like this that makes excellent movie scripts.
- “Star Trek” Creator Gene Roddenberry, died in 1991, he had always had a fascination with Space. In his last Will, he specified that he wanted his ashes to be scattered by a space satellite orbiting Earth.This request was carried out six years later, in 1997, he ashes were finally able “to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
- When Dusty Springfield died, she made her cat a priority in her last Will and Testament. Instructions stated that the cat was to be fed imported baby food and serenaded with her songs. Additionally, the singer arranged for the cat to marry his new guardian’s pet cat. However, sadly 6 weeks after she died so did the cat.
- In 1891, Robert Louis Stevenson learned that Annie Ide, the 12 year old daughter of Henry Clay Ide, the US Commissioner to Samoa, was unhappy that her birthday fell on Christmas Day so, he left his birthday- 13th November to her.
- Janis Joplin, died of a drug overdose in 1970, she made changes to her Will just two days before her death. She set aside $2,500 to pay for an all-night party for 200 guests at her favourite pub in California. The rest of her estate reportedly went to her parents.
According to recent reports from a survey carried out by The Law Society, 31 Million of us still don’t have a Will so don’t put it off until tomorrow as tomorrow may come sooner than you think.
Contact us today on (insert the telephone number) to talk to us about your Will and plan for your families’ future.