It is estimate that over half of all Australians do not have a will, this can often lead to problems when dealing with the deceased’s estate. You should give careful consideration to your wishes when you die and who should inherit your estate.
That being said, a will is often used for some weird and wacky requests and a last chance to stiff a “loved” one. Here are our top 9. Generally speaking a lot of these wills were contested and overturned on the basis that they were unfair, fraudulent or undue influence was used on the testator when the will was drafted.
Legend US Comedian Jack Benny was a true romantic at hear and when he died in 1974 included in his will a provision for one long stem rose to be delivered to his wife every day until she died.
In 2004, billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley left instructions for her 4 billion dollar fortune to be spent caring for her dogs. The main dog ‘Trouble’ received 12 million dollars, with her human family largely cut out.
Trouble’s inheritance entered trouble waters when his inheritance was cut to just 2 million dollars by a judge. The dog reportedly still had to go into hiding due to threats of kidnapping and death threats.
Trouble has been laid to rest, having died of natural causes, it is not known if he had any terrors inheriting his estate.
A self -made millionaire Keith Own, 69 found out that he had cancer with just a few weeks to live. He donated his entire fortune of about $2.3 million to his favourite holiday spot Sidmouth in Devon where they were to use the interest only on the money each year and plant one million flowers.
One last dig (no pun intended)
In 1856 German poet Heinrich “Henry” Heine left his estate to his wife, Matilda on the condition that she re marry, so that “there will be at least one man to regret my death.”
A Portuguese aristocrat Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara has as much money as he did names, so in his will he picked out 70 strangers from a phone directory to receive his estate.
Ferrari to die for
Beverly Hills socialite Sandra West, 37, left most of her fortune to her brother with an unusual request to be buried reclining in her baby-blue Ferrari and dressed in her favourite nightgown.
Her brother dutifully ensured that her wishes were adhered to.
Drumming to a different beat
American, Solomon Sanborn instructed in his will that his skin was to be used to make two drums to be given to his friend—but only on the condition that the friend travel to Bunker Hill every June 17 and drum out the beat to “Yankee Doodle” to commemorate the famous battle fought at that location.
Shakespeare’s final sonnet
Even William Shakespeare wasn’t above a final insult, leaving his wife “his second-best bed” while giving the majority of his estate to his daughter.
Once you pop, you can’t stop – until you do
Frederick Baur created the Pringles tube. His request was to be buried in such a tube, disappointingly it wasn’t a body sized pringle tube but a normal size that held his ashes. Don’t get to salty about this his children also decided that only the Original Flavour would do as well.
Are these weird wills even legal?
Generally speaking a lot of these wills were contested and overturned on the basis that they were unfair, fraudulent or undue influence was used on the testator when the will was drafted. There would also be issues as to capacity of the testator.
Can you contest a will?
Contesting a will in NSW can be done only after a person has died and either before or after a grant of probate. A will can be challenged where it is thought to be unfair, fraudulent, or undue influence was used on the testator when the Will was drafted. You should contact a solicitor as soon as possible as time limits to your claim may apply.
When making a will ensure that you seek legal advice to make sure you will is drafted correctly.