Just 10 of the strangest Wills ever made
- Recently financier Keith Owen left the value of his estate to his favourite holiday destination, Sidmouth. He asked for the money to be spent on planting a million bulbs. The Will says that the capital is to remain untouched but the approximated £125,000 interest is to be spent bringing blossom to Sidmouth and the surrounding area. The town has begun planting daffodils in their hundreds.
- An anonymous donation was left to clear the National debt of Britain in 1928. At the time the amount left was £500,000, and due to interest this is now worth more than £350 million. The anonymous donor specified in the Will that the fortune could only be used when it became enough to pay off the debt in its entirety. Unfortunately our debt is currently at around £1.6 trillion and the money is yet to be touched.
- In 2013, when generous Brit Roger Brown passed away, he left £3500 to be used by a group of his friends, asking that they went for a drink-fuelled weekend away in a European city.
- William Shakespeare very harshly left only his second best bed to his widow Anne Hathaway, while the majority of his estate went to his daughter, Susanna. One of our Will writers here at LCS has advised me that if this were to happen now, it would not be considered a reasonable provision and Hathaway would have every right to challenge the Will.
- When American comedian Jack Benny passed away in 1974, he arranged for a red rose to be delivered to his widow, Mary Livingstone, every day for the rest of her life.
- Portuguese aristocrat Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara chose seventy strangers from a phonebook to benefit from his estate thirteen years before his death. One 76 year old beneficiary said of her very unexpected bequest “Every day you hear of pranks people play on old people”.
- In Bolivia in the year 2000 police tried to approach a well-known homeless man to inform him that he was due to inherit the equivalent of £3 million from his late ex-wife. The man fled from the police and it is thought that to this day he is yet to find out about his inheritance.
- An American woman left a legacy of millions of dollars to her dog, a Maltese Terrier named Trouble, cutting out not only two of her four grandchildren, but also an original plan to leave the money to the poor. The hotelier’s other grandchildren were only given their inheritance if they visited their father’s grave annually.
- An American man who passed away in 1891 believed that he and his family would be reincarnated together so he set up a $50,000 trust fund to be used for maintenance of his mansion of 21 rooms. Mr. Bowman’s Will dictated that his servants were to provide dinner every night, on the off chance that the family were hungry when they came back from the dead. This continued until 1950, when the funds ran out.
- Houdini tried to bequest his huge collection of books on magic to the American Society for Physical Research as long as the Research Officer and Editor of their Journal, Mr Bird, would resign. Mr Bird refused to resign and the books instead went to the Library of Congress. Houdini’s many rabbits which he used to pull out of hats went to the children of his friends. To his wife, Houdini left a list of ten words. These words were selected at random and would be used when Houdini tried to contact his wife from beyond the grave. Houdini’s widow tried to contact him every Halloween for ten years, but sadly never succeeded.
If you have any other stories please let us know! For any advice on Wills or Estate Planning please call us on 0345 017 8250 or visit our website at http://bit.ly/legalhome.