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  • Writer's pictureEmma Aslett

Wills & Probate | Unusual Will Requests & Bequeaths

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

All too often people shy away from making their Will (usually the fear of fast-forwarding the inevitably – this does not happen!).

Preparing a Will only protects your assets and your family.

Within your Will, you can set out your wishes. But, a Will isn’t just about listing who you want to leave an asset to, but it is also a chance to leave a final thought or gesture to show the special ones in your life how much they meant to you.

There have been some imaginative and sought to add a little extra spice to their Wills, and I wanted to share those with you…

The Condition of a New Husband

In 1856 German poet Heinrich Heine left his estate to his wife, Matilda, on the condition that she remarry so that “there will be at least one man to regret my death”.

A Neighbourly Scandal

A gentleman hated his neighbour of 20+ years and continuously fought.

When the gentleman passed away, he left his neighbour £10,000, a vehicle and golf clubs.

Turns out, the gentleman and his neighbour were best friends in the army, bought homes next to each other, and decided to scam everyone into thinking they were enemies... now, that’s determination!

Apparently, they played golf two to three times a week together…

A Legacy of Bitterness

Wellington Burt (a Michigan millionaire), died in 1919. His Will specified that his $110m fortune would not pass to any relative until 21 years after the death of his last surviving grandchild. The last grandchild died in 1989.

The 21 years passed in November 2010 and circa 12 people became legacies of this Will and $110m fortune.

It was described as a “legacy of bitterness”.

The Lisbon Phone Directory

Portuguese aristocrat Luis Carlos de Noronha left his fortune to 70 strangers randomly chosen out of a Lisbon phone directory.

Lucky sods…

Daily Rose

To end on a loving note, American comedian Jack Benny’s instructions within his Will stated that his widow had to have one red rose delivered to her every day for the rest of her life.

A more sensible way to leave sentiments may be in a letter of wishes, which although can be stored with the Will, is not legally binding.

You can leave your loved ones with a reminder of your sense of humour, without invalidating the gift or the whole Will.

Contact me directly if you need your Will drafting, however eccentric or mundane your ideas and wishes...

0207 183 4595

The information provided in this article is not intended to constitute professional advice and you should take full and comprehensive legal, accountancy or financial advice as appropriate on your individual circumstances by a fully qualified Solicitor, Accountant or Financial Advisor/Mortgage Broker before you embark on any course of action.


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