Posted by Michelle Young, Will Writing & Estate Planning Expert
History has seen a number of surprising Wills enact the last wishes of some rather eccentric figures, from fortunes left to four legged friends to being buried in a beloved set of wheels. Here we look at some of the strangest Wills ever written!
Having a Will that represents your last wishes ensures that you have a say in the way your finances, possessions and property is dealt with after your passing. The most important thing with any Will is that it is personal to you, that no one has influenced your decisions and that it reflects your own feelings.
For some people, this means including things which might seem a little strange to others. If you are considering making an unusual request in your Will, here are a few weird and wonderful requests to give you some ideas.
In 1928, a charitable person’s Will requested that an anonymous donation of £500,000 be made to the British Government. The request asked that the money is put aside and only touched when it could pay off the British national debt. While the money left in this generous donor’s Will has now risen in value to over £350 million, it’s still nowhere near enough to cover the national debt so remains untouched to this day!
In 2004, billionaire hotelier Lorna Helmsley apparently rewrote a previous Will leaving her billions to the poor and instead requested that it all be used for the care of dogs. In addition, she left a specific $12 million to her dog, Trouble.
In doing so, Helmsley disinherited a lot of her family from the Will. The Will was contested in court and a judge later reduced the amount of money bequeathed to Trouble down to $2 million. However, the dog had to go into hiding due to kidnapping and death threats due to his staggering inheritance!
In the 1930s a Toronto businessman stated in his Will that he would bequeath his entire fortune to any married woman in his local community who could have the most children in the next ten years. This famously became known as the ‘Stork Derby’. In the end there were four women who each got a share of the inheritance, having each given birth to nine children.
When American socialite Sandra West died aged just 37 years old, she left very specific instructions in her Will regarding how she wished to be buried. Her Will stipulated that she be ‘buried in her lace nightgown, in her Ferrari with the seat slanted comfortably’. Her family followed the request and buried her in the 1964 Ferrari 330. Sensibly, they also then covered the grave in cement to deter would be car thieves.
Portuguese aristocrat Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral de Camara had no children or descendants when he wrote his Will. He wanted to leave his very sizeable estate to someone. When writing his Will he picked 70 random names from the Lisbon telephone book and included them as the benefactors. They were only told when contacted by the executors of his Will following his passing that they would receive a share of his estate.
Whatever you want to leave and to whomever you want to leave it to, using a professional Will writing service will help you ensure that the final document is legal and can be upheld after your death. We can put you in touch with a reputable company today.
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