10 of the most weird Wills
It’s important to be prepared and leave formal instructions for what should happen to your assets after your death. You can detail how you wish your estate to be distributed by making a Will.
But for some people, a Will is more than a list of bequests, it can be a chance to leave a loved-one a final gesture. These last words can include some unexpected details.
We’ve rounded up 10 of our most favourite weird Wills made by the famous.
1. Harry Houdini
The World-renowned escape artist and stunt performer died from peritonitis after his appendix ruptured in 1926 on Halloween.
Houdini had special interest in the afterlife and spiritual mediums, so much so, that he promised his wife, Bess, that he would contact her after he died, using a secret code consisting of ten words chosen at random.
After his death, his Will stated that Bess was to hold annual seances on the anniversary of the performer’s death, and for ten years, Bess did just that- using the code to contact Houdini. No one truly knows, to this day, if Bess ever made contact with her late husband.
2. William Shakespeare
In 1616, Britain’s most famous playwright left his daughters £150 each according to probate records- that’s £380,000 in today’s money. Shakespeare’s poor wife, Anne Hathaway, however, received his “second-best” bed- a snub from beyond the grave. Although common to bequeath your bed to someone in the 17th century, who William left his own elaborate four-poster bed to, remains a mystery.
3. Dusty Springfield
Dusty Springfield’s Will, left a testament to her love for her pet cat, following her death in 1999. The British late singer, who was also a devoted animal-rights activist, requested that her 13-year-old pedigree feline, Nicholas:
- Be fed baby food especially imported to Britain from the United States.
- Live in a 7-foot indoor tree house lined with scratch pads and catnip.
- Be serenaded to sleep each night by a stereo system playing his master’s greatest pop hits.
- Have his bed lined with the pillowcase Dusty rested on and the nightgown she wore when she died.
- Be “married” to the female cat of Dusty’s pal.
4. Gene Roddenberry
Eugene Roddenbury, the American television screenwriter, who created Star Trek, instructed that his ashes be scattered via a space satellite orbiting earth. The creator, who also invented the notable quote “to boldly go where no one has gone before”, got his wish after he died in 1991. His wife’s remains followed in 2009.
5. Mark Gruenwald
The America comic book writer and editor is known for his work at Marvel Comics. Gruenwald stated that that he wished for his ashes to be mixed with the ink used to print the comic books. His wishes were carried out when he died in 1996.
6. Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin was an American rock, soul, and blues singer and songwriter, who also liked to drink. So much so, that when she died in 1970, she reportedly left $2,500 for her friends to celebrate by getting drunk at a wake party. The tag line for the post-funeral party was “Drinks Are On A Pearl”, a reference to Joplin’s nickname and the title of her final album.
7. Charles Dickens
English author, Charles Dickens was especially particular about his funeral. He said that no mourners attending his funeral were allowed to sport scarves, cloaks, black bows, long hatbands or any other “revolting absurdity”.
8. Napolean Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte died on May 5, 1821 at the age of 51 on the remote South Atlantic island of St. Helena. Before he was buried, Napolean’s hair was shaved off and given to his family- one of the request’s from his Will.
In his Will, American rapper and actor, Tupac, requested that he be cremated and have his ashes smoked by his friends. He died in a drive-by-shooting, in 1996, and it is alleged that his friends did in fact carry out his wishes after his cremation.
10. Ed Headrick
Ed Headrick is an American toy inventor, known for inventing the Frisbee. After his death in2002, his ashes were used during the production of a limited edition range of Frisbees- a last request from Headrick.
Osborne Morris & Morgan
Whilst it is important that your Will reflects your wishes, it is important to remember that it is a legal document, that has to be planned and written carefully, in valid legal terms. By using a solicitor who has extensive legal knowledge in Will writing, you can avoid the pitfalls of a poorly-worded Will and the heartache and cost this can leave for your loved ones.
If you do not yet have a Will, or have one that needs updating (see our article Remember to update your Will), our team of Will specialist solicitors are on hand to help you.
To speak with our specialist Wills, Probate & Powers of Attorney team, please call us on 01525 378177 or contact us online.