7 Of The Most Peculiar Wills Of All Time

We can control what happens to our estate and property while we are alive and breathing, but what happens to your finances once you die? That’s exactly where Wills come into the picture as it gives you the chance to control your legacy from beyond the grave.
This matter embodies utter seriousness in all its glory but some mischievous souls wish to wreak havoc from six feet under. They’d love to have the last word and the last laugh which is why their Wills are quite imaginative leaving everyone behind in quite the dilemma.
For many, Will is not just a list of instructions; it’s the chance to leave a loved-one with a final considerate gesture or show an optimistic relative how much you preferred Mr. Whiskers, your beloved cat over them.
So for this reason alone and because we love a healthy dose of mockery ourselves, we bring to you the 8 most peculiar Wills to give your imagination a spurt of motivation...
1.      William  Shakespeare’s The “Second Best Bed”
Mrs Shakespeare aka Anne Hathaway was given the cold shoulder by the famous writer from beyond the grave. In his Will, Shakespeare left his beloved wife his “second-best bed” while a big chunk of his possessions went to his daughter Susanna. Antony Nixon, who is a partner at the Thomas Eggar LLP proposes that today this Will could easily be contested. Shakespeare’s wife could certainly file a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, that her husband’s Will didn’t make ‘reasonable financial provision’ for her and appeal the court to award her more.
2.      A Rose A Day
Jack Benny, the legendary comedian from the states left a very peculiar but touching instruction in his Will when he died in 1974.  He made a provision in his Will for the florist to deliver one long-stemmed red rose to his home every day after his death. His widow Mary Livingstone brought this touching gesture to light shortly after his demise. She further added that the florist was instructed to do so every day for the rest of her life.
3.      A Nameless Donation “To Clear The National Debt”
A democratic and a public-spirited donor made a half-million pound donation to Britain back in 1928 and its present net worth is more than £350m. Regrettably, the nameless donor was very particular about the way he wished for that money to be spent – it is to be passed on only when it is enough to clear the entire national debt. Unfortunately the total national debt currently stands at more than £1.5tn and so the money is completely untouchable.
4.      A Boozy Weekend
We’d all love it if our friends will clink glasses and drink to us once we are gone but Roger Brown made sure that this actually happens. The 67- year old lost his life battling prostate cancer in 2013 and he left behind a covert bequest of £3,500 to seven of his closest friends with the condition that they use it for a boozy weekend getaway in a European city. After spending the weekend away in Berlin, one of the beneficiaries Roger Rees told the South Wales Evening Post, “We spent most of it on beer, the rest we wasted.”
5.      A Brand New Husband
For some resentful spouses, the last Will is basically the last chance to offend and mock their life partner one last time. German poet Heinrich “Henry” Heine took this opportunity to make slight of the situation and get back to his wife Matilda. Henry left his estate to her in 1856 on the condition that she remarry so that there will be at least one man to regret his death. Phew!
Nixon cautions that this joke would not go as planned if it were made today. If Henry failed to make any other provision in his Will, Matilda could possibly eliminate the condition disclaiming Henry’s gift. As per the law in force today, Matilda would inherit all of Henry’s estate absolutely and unconditionally as Henry left no children.
6.      A Legacy Of Bitterness
Wellington Burt, a millionaire from Michigan wielded his Will to put his massive wealth out of his family’s reach for almost a whole century. When he died in 1919, his Will was discovered much to everyone’s dismay that his enormous fortune would not be passed on until 21 years after the death of his last surviving grandchild. The last relative died in 1989 and the 21-year countdown ended on November 2010. After that 12 people found out that they were beneficiaries of a very strange Will known as the “legacy of bitterness”, and they shared a fortune whose net worth was estimated to be around $110m.
7.      Seventy Beneficiary From the Phone Directory
Things like these have the probability of happening only in movies or perhaps daydreams. Portuguese member of the aristocracy Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara, left his gargantuan fortune to seventy strangers picked randomly out of a Lisbon phone directory in his Will. A 70 year old beneficiary told Portugal’s Sol newspaper that she thought it was a cruel joke as she’d never heard of the man.
While these Wills are standing proof of epitome of hilarity, it’s rife with risks. It is best that we seek caution while drafting Wills and take the matter seriously into consideration. If you must insist of playing a joke or include an odd request in your Will, ensure to see if that makes the document invalid and avoid doing anything that cold deem your Will null and void.
Drafting a Will has never been easier as you can now easily download a free will template and get going. In case you have out of the ordinary requests, you’re better off using the non-legally binding letter of wishes.