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Seven weird wills from around the world

Seven weird wills from around the world

By LIV Professional Development

Succession Wills 


Succession lawyers work with clients from all backgrounds, financial situations, and professions. Not everyone will need to use a family lawyer or criminal lawyer in their lifetime, but everyone will eventually pass away – which means that sooner or later, everyone should write a will.

There are several critical things to keep in mind when drafting a will, whether you've been doing it for years or are just starting out. You can learn more about the good, the bad and the indecipherable of will drafting at the LIV's Will Drafting Masterclass on Wednesday 28 February.

If you have worked in succession law for a while, you have likely heard some strange requests or seen some surprising clauses in the wills of your clients. Some people take the opportunity with their will to leave a final love letter to their spouse or one last private joke for their family.

From the weird to the wonderful, the heart-warming to the hilarious, here are seven of the most unusual will requests from around the world:

1. William Shakespeare specifically left his wife, Anne Hathaway, his "second best bed" while his daughter Susanna inherited most of the best parts of his estate.

2. Comedian Jack Benny made a provision in his will to fund a daily flower delivery to his wife following his passing. Every day, their local florist brought a long-stemmed rose to her home.

3. Sandra West, a Beverley Hills socialite, determined in her will that she should be buried inside her Ferrari "with the seat slanted comfortably". She got her wish, much to the chagrin of car lovers everywhere, as the vehicle is now worth more than $US300,000.

4. It should come as no surprise that Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, was obsessed with space. What is surprising is that his will specified that his ashes were to be scattered in space, which they were in 2014.

5. Portuguese aristocrat Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara had no one to leave his massive estate to, so he chose 70 names at random from the Lisbon phonebook.

6. Toronto attorney Charles Vance Miller started a phenomenon known as the Great Stork Derby when he left his estate "to the mother who has since my death given birth in Toronto to the greatest number of children". After a decade, four women tied and split the money, having had nine children each.

7. Hotel magnate Leona Helmsley famously left $US12 million to her dog, Trouble – and excluded two of her grandchildren entirely.

Many of the wills listed above have been challenged throughout the years, or would be challenged if they were executed today. Whether your client needs a standard will drafted or a massive estate split, the LIV's Will Drafting Masterclass will give you the tips and tools you need to ensure it is effective.

Tickets are still available, so register today.

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