Last year in our newsletter we had a look at the light side of some Wills of the rich and famous.
Recently a number of prominent celebrities have died without leaving Wills in place – such as Prince, Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse. This can cost your estate thousands of dollars and leave your loved ones battling in court for years.
We always recommend that you should maintain a current Will properly drawn by your lawyer, who can take into account your individual circumstances.
You need to remember that events such as marriage and divorce will invalidate any Will that you have.
Here are some clauses that you may or may not wish to consider including in your Will.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN – DIED IN 1970
In Benjamin Franklin’s Will he left a portrait of France’s King Louis XVI to his daughter Sarah, on the proviso that she not engage in “the expensive, vain and useless pastime of wearing jewels.”
The reason – the portrait was in a frame studded with 408 diamonds, and he didn’t want his daughter to remove the diamonds from the frame!
JOHN BOWMAN – DIED IN 1891
John Bowman’s wife and two daughter had died before him, and, before his death, John became convinced that after his death his whole family would be reincarnated.
Because of this believe, in his Will John set up a trust worth $50,000 to pay servants to keep up the housework in his house and to prepare a meal every night for the family.
This bizarre ritual took place until 1950, when the trust finally ran out of funds!
DUSTY SPRINGFIELD – DIED IN 1999
Dusty Springfield, the British singer, famous for such songs as “Son of a Preacher Man” and “I Only Want to Be With You”, left instructions in her Will for her pet cat to be fed imported baby food and serenaded daily with her songs.
Dusty also made arrangements for her cat to “marry” another cat!
LEONA HELMSLY – DIED IN 2007
Cats are not the only recipients of strange bequests in Wills.
Leona Helmsley died in 2007 at the age of 87 and in her Will she created a $12 million trust for her Maltese, named “Trouble”, to allow him to live out the rest of his life in luxury!
HEINRICH HEINE – DIED IN 1856
The German poet Heinrich Heine married his wife, Eugenie Milat in 1841.
In his Will he left his entire estate to his wife, on the condition that she remarry.
Why – you might well ask, because in Heine’s words, “then there will be at least one man who will regret my death!”
ALBERT ORTON – DIED IN 1888
Albert was apparently not fond of his wife, because he only left her one farthing in his Will because apparently she had called him “a rotten old pig” after he broke wind!
Give us a call today to make an appointment to bring your Will up to date.
About the author:
This article has been authored by Jacqueline Brown who is a Perth lawyer and director at Lynn & Brown Lawyers. Jacqui has over 20 years’ experience in legal practice and practices in family law, mediation and estate planning. Jacqui is also a Nationally Accredited Mediator and a Notary Public.