Some people use their Last Will and Testament as an opportunity to make strange requests. These odd wishes are often due to someone’s unique sense of humor. Or, they may have had a strong emotion for something or someone while they were alive.
Typically, when you create a Last Will and Testament, your main concern is distributing your estate after your death. You select beneficiaries to receive family heirlooms and set up trusts for minor children to receive when they reach adulthood.
But, if you’re looking for some creative inspiration, here are some of the strangest requests people have made in their Last Wills.
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Many people leave provisions in their Wills for the ongoing care of their beloved pets. They may name a pet guardian and leave money to cover expenses. Some take a step further and leave large chunks of their estates (or even their entire estate) to their pets.
Florida heiress Gail Posner passed away in 2010. She left her mansion and a $3 million trust fund for her dogs Conchita, April Maria, and Lucia.
Leona Helmsley, the so-called “Queen of Mean” hotelier, left instructions in her Will to establish a $12 million trust for her pet Maltese dog.
West coast rancher Tom Shewbridge bequeathed 29,000 shares in a local electric company to his two dogs.
Quaker State heiress Eleanor Ritchey left $14 million to her 150 stray dogs.
In contrast to these rather generous legacies, US heiress Doris Duke’s Will authorized the creation of a modest $100,000 trust for her dogs.
Some people use their Wills to take one final jab at someone they despised when they were alive.
Englishwoman Annie Langabeer left two shillings and sixpence to her brother, so he could “buy a rope” to hang himself.
In 1937, Englishman Frank Smith’s Will stated that his estate should go to his daughter on one condition. His strange request was that she stopped living with “her immoral husband.”
Even William Shakespeare wasn’t above a final insult. He left his wife “his second-best bed” while giving the majority of his estate to his daughter.
But, the prize for most spiteful inheritance may belong to US millionaire Wellington Burt. After his death in 1919, his Will withheld his substantial fortune from his family members until 21 years after the death of his last surviving grandchild. In 2010, a dozen living relations found out about their long-delayed inheritances.
Read more: 5 Reasons Your Will Could Be Contested
Weird demands in Wills
These last wishes make you wonder what people were thinking when they penned their wills.
Napoleon Bonaparte’s final wish was to have his head shaved, and his hair split among his friends.
American Solomon Sanborn had a supremely strange request. He instructed that his skin be used to make two drums to be given to his friend. He requested that the friend travel to Bunker Hill every June 17 and drum out the beat to “Yankee Doodle”. This request was to commemorate the famous battle fought at that location.
John Bowman from Vermont was a believer in reincarnation. He established a $50,000 trust for the upkeep of his mansion to prepare for his return from the dead. He also instructed his servants to prepare and serve a full dinner every evening. In this case, there’d be something for him and his returning family members to eat when they arrived. These dinners were cooked and served nightly from 1891 until 1950, when Bowman’s trust finally ran dry.
Sandra West was a California socialite who bequeathed the bulk of her estate to her brother. She asked that he bury her “in her lace nightgown and her Ferrari, with the seat slanted comfortably.” Of course, her brother did carry out her wishes.
Finally, there is Luis Carlos. A wealthy Portuguese aristocrat, Carlos chose his beneficiaries by randomly selecting 70 people from the Lisbon phone book. All 70 people were notified of their inheritances after his death in 2007.
Leave a valid Will
You may feel tempted to make a strange request or leave spiteful provisions in your Will. But these demands can leave your Will open to challenges in court.
To ensure proper execution of your Will, your last wishes should comply with established legal standards and conventions.