25 September 2015
10 of the Strangest Wills Ever Written
When you write a Will you can leave your money and possessions in any way that you choose. But we have found some weird and wonderful Wills that you may get inspiration from.
1. The man who left a rose a day to his widow. US comedian Jack Benny stated in his Will that a red rose should be delivered to his wife every day for the rest of her life.
2. Seventy strangers. Eccentric Portuguese aristocrat Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara wrote his Will leaving his fortune to 70 people he chose at random from the Lisbon phone book.
3. A weekend for friends. Roger Brown left a secret bequest in his Will stipulating that £3,500 should be given to seven of his best friends to go and enjoy a boozy weekend away in a European City.
4. Just the second best bed. Shakespeare left his “second-best bed” to his widow, Anne Hathaway, in a brutal snub. Most of the rest of his estate went to his daughter Susanna.
5. Jesus Christ. One unnamed man left his fortune to Jesus, but only as long as his identity could be proven.
6. Money for old rope. Annie Langabeer died in 1932 and left a stipulation in her Will that her brother-in-law should receive two shillings and sixpence. But this was to be used to buy a rope with which to hang himself!
7. Not like a pig in mud. Albert Orton left his wife just half a farthing, around 4p in today’s money, because she called him a “rotten old pig” for breaking wind.
8. Clear Britain’s national debt. An anonymous donation of half a million pounds in 1928 was left to the nation. The donor was very specific that the money should only be used once it was enough to clear the debt in one go. The donation is now worth more than £350million but as the national debt is £1.5trillion it still can’t be touched.
9. A town in bloom. Keith Owen donated his entire £2.3million fortune to the town of Sidmouth with the stipulation that the interest must be used for flowers. He wrote that one million flowering bulbs were to be bought and that the town should be kept alive with colour.
10. A new husband. German poet, Heinrich Heine, left his estate to his wife in 1856. But there was one condition – she had to remarry so that “there will be at least one man to regret my death” – oh dear!
Wills are really important, no matter what the content. You need to ensure that your wishes are fully explained and recorded so that they are carried out after you have gone. It’s really important to get a solicitor to draft your Will so that it’s legally binding and will stand up to any contestation.