Creating a Will allows us to control the nature of our property as well as fulfill some last wishes. But what if those wishes are very strange?
You would not be the first! A surprising unusual estate planning request comes from William Shakespeare. Shakespeare all but excluded his wife, Anne Hathaway, from his Will instead leaving the bulk of his sizeable estate to his eldest daughter, Susanna. To his wife, he left his “second-best bed”. This request was separate from the Will, tacked on as if it were just an afterthought. At this time leaving someone a good quality bed was not unusual but some scholars do think this could have been meant as an insult.
Magician Harry Houdini’s last wishes included a request for his wife to hold a mini séance every year on the anniversary of his death. They even agreed upon a phrase he would communicate –the message would be “Rosabelle believe”, a secret code which they agreed to use that he would say as confirmation that it was him really speaking. Rosabelle was their favorite song. His wife, however, quit the séances a decade after his death —must’ve tired of waiting for Rosabelle.
Husband of the year for sure if you know me — Comedian Jack Benny left a provision in his Will instructing a local florist to deliver a red rose to his wife every day for the rest of her life.
Strange or purposeful? Do you remember when businesswoman Leona Helmsley left her dog “Trouble” 12 million to inherit? A judge later reportedly reduced the inheritance to 2 million. That is still a lot of dog bones!
These were fun examples but remember…unusual provisions in Wills could confuse your family members if you are not careful. If you are seeking guidance in writing a Last Will and Testament or you’re looking to set up a Trust for your family, please make sure you consult an experienced Estate Planning attorney so they can explain the entire process in detail.