Craziest Will Bequests
Our Las Vegas Wills and Trust Attorneys explain some of the most peculiar and interesting requests that people have made to be carried out after their deaths. If you have questions about making a will of your own or if there are certain things that you would prefer to have in your will. Please contact our Las Vegas Lawyers at (702) 370-0155. Our experienced Nevada attorneys can help you prepare you and your loved ones.
When most people think of wills, they mostly think of this legal document’s ability to designate how the estate should be distributed and who should be the legal guardian of any minor children, if applicable. However, wills often include provisions for a funeral or cremation, and special requests like where ashes should be scattered. Some people have used their will as a creative way to be remembered, while others sought petty revenge. Here are some of the strangest will requests of all time.
- Ashes being fired into Space– Gene Roddenberry clearly had a favorite subject matter, as the creator of Star Trek. Sadly, the rocket bearing his ashes didn’t make it all the way to outer space, instead disintegrating in the atmosphere.
- Ashes Being Shot Off in a Cannon– Johnny Depp famously spent $5 million shooting the ashes of Hunter S. Thompson, the author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, off in a cannon.
- Ashes Being Used as Ink– Mark Gruenwald was well-known for his role as an editor at Marvel Comics. In his will, he requested that his ashes be used in the ink used to print Marvel comic books.
- Ashes in a Pringles Can– Fred Baur, best known for creating the snack company Pringles, requested that his ashes be buried inside one of his iconic cans.
- Best Friend (hair) Bracelets– Napoleon Bonaparte instructed that after his death, his head would be shaven to create hair bracelets for all of his closest friends.
- Have My Birthday! – Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of classics like The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Treasure Island, sympathized for his friend Annie H. Ide. Her birthday was on Christmas, so she felt her birthday was never truly about her. In his will, Stevenson left Ide his birthday- he even designated the president of the United States as an alternative beneficiary if Ide were to decline.
- Enemy Vacation Home– Charles Vance was a Canadian attorney who had fun while drafting his will. He left one of his vacation homes to three men who were known to hate each other. He also left money, which increased with interest to $750,000, to whichever woman had birthed the most children in Canada by the deadline. Four women with nine children each split the inheritance.
- Four Thousand Dollars, in one hundred years– Benjamin Franklin left the cities of Philadelphia and Boston a total of $8,800 on the condition that the cities could only make a partial withdrawal after 100 years. The cities abided by this request and the fund was eventually worth millions of dollars.
- Maltese Care– Leona Helmsley was an incredibly wealthy New York businesswoman who treasured her pet Maltese, Trouble. She originally left the pup $12 million, but the court struck this down as outlandish, leaving only $2 million for Trouble’s care.
- New Alphabet– George Bernard Shaw, the playwright responsible for My Fair Lady, designated funds for the creation of a 40-character alphabet he had pioneered before his death.
- Second Best Bed– William Shakespeare left most of his estate to his eldest daughter Susanna. He only left his wife, Anne Hathaway, specifically his “second best” bed.
- Single Red Rose, every day– Jack Benny was a comedian known for his use of the violin. When he passed away, his will provided for a single red rose to be delivered to his wife every day for the rest of her life.
- Ten Word List– Harry Houdini left his wife a list of ten words with which he would use to communicate with her from beyond the grave. He requested that every year on Halloween, she hold a seance. She reportedly held these seances, waiting for those ten words, for ten years after his death.