Posted by Michelle Young, Will Writing & Estate Planning Expert
Most Wills are very straight forward and functional legal documents to ensure your estate is distributed according to your wishes. But there have been some strange final wishes written in to Last Wills and Testaments.
Here is a list of some of the bizarre requests that have been made by the rich and famous:
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright. He is regarded as one of the world’s greatest writers.
He died on 23rd April 1616, within one month of writing his last Will and testament. He was survived by his wife, who he married when he was just 18, and their two daughters.
The majority of his estate was left to his daughter Susanna. Shakespeare’s Will barely mentioned his wife, leaving her his “second best bed”. It is still undecided whether this is a snub to his wife, or whether the second best bed would have been the marital bed, therefore emotionally significant.
George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. When he was 11 years old, he inherited 10 slaves, at the time of his death he owned 123 slaves.
In his Will he stated that “Upon the decease of my wife, it is my Will and desire, that all the slaves which I hold in my own right, shall receive their freedom. To emancipate them during her life, would, tho’ earnestly wished by me, be attended with such insuperable difficulties.”
His widow Martha Washington freed her husband’s slaves a year after his death, however she did not emancipate any of the slaves she owned herself. When she died, she did not show the same levels of compassion as all her enslaved people went to descendants of her first husband.
Dusty Springfield was an English pop singer who found fame in the Swinging Sixties. She enjoyed a long and distinguished career, succumbing to breast cancer in January 1994 whilst promoting her last album.
As well as her love for music, she was also known for her love of animals. And it is not surprise that in her Will she made special arrangements for her cat Nicholas, a Californian ragdoll breed.
In her last Will and testament, she made several requests to ensure that Nicholas lived in luxury, these included being fed on specially imported baby food, live in a luxury tree house, be serenaded to sleep with Dusty’s music every night and had handpicked a bride for him to marry.
Janis Joplin was a popular American singer who unfortunately died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27.
Despite the majority of her estate going to her parents, the musician left $2,500 to pay for an all-night party at her favourite pub after her death “so my friends can get blasted after I have gone.”
Friends of Janis Joplin who were invited to the post funeral party received invitations with the tag line "Drinks Are On Pearl," a reference to Joplin's nickname and the title of her final album.
Jack Benny was a legendary US comedian and actor. Although he came to life when under the spotlight, he was painfully shy in private. When a young lady, called Sadie, caught his eye, he did not have the confidence to approach her, therefore started sending her a rose on a daily basis. He eventually went married Sadie, and throughout their courtship and subsequent marriage he continued to send her a single red rose on a daily basis.
After his death, the daily delivery of a single red rose continued and his wife discovered that Jack had made a provision for flowers in his Will. One red rose was to be delivered to her for the rest of her life.
Tupac was an American rapper and considered to be one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time. His life was brought to a premature end when he was shot in Las Vegas after attending a Mike Tyson boxing match.
His song “Black Jesus” referenced smoking his ashes to be a final wish. After his death his body was cremated and it is legend that his final wish was granted. His ashes were mixed with marijuana and smoked by the members of his Outlawz.
Harry Houdini was an illusionist and stunt performed noted for his sensational escape acts. The daredevil died on 31st October, 1926.
Towards the end of his life he had become increasingly interested in spiritualism and the afterlife. Houdini promised his wife he would contact her and would speak to her in a code that only she would understand. His Will included an unusual request that a séance should be held on each anniversary of his death. His wife held séances in an attempt to contact his spirit, however after the tenth anniversary of Houdini’s death and another failed attempt to make contact, she declared was giving up trying to reach him.
There are many celebrities who have amassed a fortune, but died without a Will. Dying intestate, or without a Will can cause serious problems for those left behind. If you need any advice on getting a Will, you can contact us for a no obligation quote.
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