Unique wishes people make in their will
Although the majority of people leave their belongings to family members, friends or charities, people sometimes do make strange bequests in their last will and testament. Here’s some famous examples of wishes that you may not expect to see in a will.
A daily rose
When actor and comedian Jack Benny died in 1974, his will stated that a single red rose be delivered to his wife, Mary Livingstone Benny, from the date of his death until the date that she died. At the time of writing his will, Benny said he wanted his wife to know of his “undying love and commitment.” A florist delivered a red rose to her every day as his will instructed until her death in 1983.
An after-death celebration
Some of the most interesting wills include bequests that provide funds for friends and family to celebrate after the testator’s death. Roger Brown, an Englishman who lost his battle with prostate cancer at 67, left part of his fortune to seven of his friends with the stipulation they use it for an alcohol-filled weekend in a European city. Singer Janis Joplin left a US$2,500 US fund in her will for a wake party after her death.
A literary award wish
Miles Franklin was an Australian novelist and writer committed to the growth and development of Australian literature. Following the publication of her most regarded work, My Brilliant Career, she spent some time working in Sydney and Melbourne whilst also contributing pieces to newspapers. In her will she made a provision for her estate to establish an annual literary award, the Miles Franklin Award.
Wishes for remains
When Robert Louis Stevenson died in 1894, his Will included an odd last wish. At the time that Mr. Stevenson prepared his will, he said that his friend Annie H. He often complained that she did not really get to celebrate her birthday as she was born on Christmas Day. In his Will he left her his own birthday –, November 13.
In some last will and testaments, the arrangements regarding a person’s body is part of their bequest. Mark Gruenwald, Executive Editor of Captain America and Iron Man for Marvel Comics, requested that he be cremated, and his ashes mixed with ink for the printing of comic books. Fred Bauer, the inventor of Pringles, wanted to be buried in a Pringles can. Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, requested that his ashes be launched into space, while Napoleon Bonaparte’s will directed that his head be shaved, and his hair distributed among friends.
Luxury pet home
There have been many wills with unique requests regarding much loved pets. Jonathan Jackson, an Ohio animal lover who died in 1880, left a significant amount of money for the creation of a home for cats. The home was to have bedrooms, a gym, a dining hall and an auditorium where live music would be played. There would also be a roof designed specifically for climbing. When Leona Helmsley died in 2004, she left more than US$12 million to her Maltese, Trouble. Her grandchildren were required to visit their father’s grave annually to inherit their share of the estate.
Random stranger wish
Portuguese aristocrat, Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara left his considerable fortune to 70 strangers he randomly chose out of a phone directory in Lisbon. When his heirs were notified, many thought it was a joke as they had never met the man.
A will is often your last wish and a final message that you can send. To loved ones and those that matter most to you. Even if your circumstances are straightforward, having a will helps ensure everyone is clear on what you’d like done with your estate.
State Trustees has decades of experience in will writing and can provide expert and impartial advice. With three will-writing options to suit both simple and complex circumstances, you can easily compare the choices and get started today.
We recommended you book an appointment with our will-writing experts if you have complex gifting requests or circumstances like the above.
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