Wills
Wills with Strange Requests
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Wills with Strange Requests

By 

Jennifer Mcgee

Head of Legal at TrulyWill

When we create a Will, we usually make arrangements for our family members and friends to secure their future. But there are some celebrities with high net worth tax plans who have made Wills with Strange Requests or you can say Craziest wills Requests Inspiring Us to Think Outside the Box.

Estate planning for high net worth individuals has the same importance as it is there for a person worth $20000-$30000. Both are hard-earned assets and everyone wants to get them distributed among their family members after them.

Table of Contents:

  1. Benjamin Franklin
  2. Harry Houdini
  3. Charles Dickens
  4. William Shakespeare
  5. Lessons we learnt from these Wills

Following is the list of Famous Celebrities who died with a Last Will and Testament having some unique and weird conditions which will give you an insight on what to include and what to avoid while writing your own Will. You may also check for the sample wills online to have an idea.

Benjamin Franklin

Harry Houdini

Charles Dickens

William Shakespeare

Died at 84 with a net worth in the range of US$300 billion to US$400 billion. 

Died at the age of 52 with a net worth of $500,000.

Died at the age of 58 with a net worth of $1,00,000. 

Died at the age of 52 with a net worth between $300- $400.

He asked his daughter among his final wishes to not engage in wearing expensive jewelry.

He asked that a seance be conducted yearly following his death and he will prove his existence.

Dickens left instructions in his last will and testament that he wanted to be buried in an inexpensive, and strictly private manner.

To his wife, he left nothing but his “second best bed”. 

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was an American polymath who was active as a writer, scientist, statesman, diplomat, printer, and political philosopher who died at the age of 84 in 1790.

Benjamin Franklin wanted his money to gain interest for 200 years. Franklin bequeathed £1,000 (one thousand British Pounds) each to his native city of Boston, Massachusetts and his adopted city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by forming 2 trusts. That amount was equivalent to several thousand dollars by his death in 1790, or $125,000 in 2021.

Strange Request made to Daughter: Do not engage in wearing expensive jewelry.

The reason behind this was that Franklin had a picture of the King of France with 480 diamonds on it. He didn't want his daughter to remove those diamonds and make ornaments out of it.

Click here to read his complete Will.

Harry Houdini

Harry Houdini was a Hungarian-American escape artist, illusionist, and stunt performer noted for his escape acts. 

In his Will, he gave $500 to each of his three assistants, $1,000 to the Society of American Magicians and requested that portions of his estate be liquidated and distributed to family members over time, and to his Wife, he gave 1/6th of the estate and the remaining portions to his remaining siblings. 

In his later life, after the death of his mother, Harry started being interested in spiritualism. He spent several years trying to communicate with her but did not succeed. Later on, he left a 10-digit secret code to his wife to communicate with him after his death.

Strange Request made to Wife- Conduct yearly seance after my death.

He asked that a seance be conducted yearly following his death and he will prove his existence 

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was an English writer novelist of the Victorian era, known for the world's best-known fictional characters. 

He distributed his assets among his family members, domestic servants and friends.

Strange request for his funeral- He made a list of things to be not worn at his funeral.

Dickens had left instructions in his last will and testament that he wanted to be buried in an inexpensive, unostentatious, and strictly private manner; that no public announcement be made of the time or place of burial.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was an English writer and poet. He is also one of the world’s greatest dramatists and writers.

Shakespeare left the bulk of his property to his two daughters: Susanna Hall and Judith Quinney. To his sister Joan Hart and her three sons, he left money and clothes.

Strange Request in the Will. - I give my wife, “My second best Bed”. 

Shakespeare gave nothing to his Wife but his second-best bed. That was something very strange. This request was written at the end of Will and it seemed as if he had written it with shaky hands during his last times and it took a lot of time to understand what he had written exactly for his wife. 

Lessons we learnt from these Wills:   

  1. Think about your family. 

Keep in mind that your loved ones are already disturbed by your demise. Do not complicate your last Wills and testament. Make a Will that is easy to execute.

  1. Do not request something impossible or difficult in your Will. 

Do not burden your family with your exceptional wishes. Try to make things easier for them after your death. 

Got Questions?

Hi, I’m Jennifer McGee.

Co-founder & Head of Legal at TrulyWill

Feel free to book a call with me to help you with your estate plan.

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What happens if I die without a Will?
When a person dies without creating a Will, he/she is said to have died intestate. Dying intestate compels the family of the deceased to spend a lot of money and time on acquiring the estate. It is necessary to create a Will so that your hard-earned money and assets are distributed among your family and friends as per your wish.
Who can make a Will?
In almost all States, every person who is 18 years of age or above can make a Will. However, there are few states where the age to make a valid Will is less than 18 years.
Can I make changes to my Will once I have signed it?
Yes. There are 2 ways of making changes to your Will. 1. Creating a new Will. You can create a new Will if you have gone through certain changes in your life including marriage, birth, divorce, etc 2. Making a Codicil. A Codicil is an additional or supplementary document given with a Will when you amend, revoke, explain or modify a certain part of your Will.
Should I wait for retirement to make a Will?
Life is unpredictable. The only certainty in life is Death. You should be prepared for the inevitable circumstances and start thinking about making a Will to avoid any legal and financial grief to your loved ones.
What does an Executor do?
An Executor is a person who manages your Will after your death. Following are the powers generally vested with the Executors: • Right of Retention • Right to Sale • Borrowing • Right to Invest • Appointment of Attorneys • Payment of debts
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