A will is one of the oldest estate planning documents. It provides the last chance for the deceased to act upon the living and let them (and the world) know how they feel.
Here’s 13 crazy and unusual wills.
1. Gene Roddenberry – The creator of Star Trek died in 1991. His body was cremated and launched into space aboard the space shuttle Columbia. Another portion of his remains was launched into orbit inside a Pegasus XL rocket in 1997. Yet another portion was launched into space in 2014 along with his recently deceased wife’s
2. Mark Gruenwald – Mark died in 1996. As executive editor of Marvel Comics, he was able to request his ashes be blended with ink used to print a 12-issue mini-series.
3. Napoleon Bonaparte – The French Emperor requested that his head be shaved and the hair distributed among his closest friends. Fortunately, this hair was preserved enough to provide a forensic analysis that showed a large amount of arsenic in his system.
4. Jack Benny – The historic entertainer left a large sum of money to a florist to send his wife a single long-stemmed rose for the rest of her life. Before her death, she had received more than 3,000 roses.
5. Ed Headrick – The inventor of the frisbee loved his invention so much that he arranged to have his ashes molded into frisbees. The frisbees were sold to the public to raise funds for the establishment of the “Steady” Ed Memorial Disc Golf Museum.
6. Countess Carlotta Liebenstein – This German Countess loved her dog more than people. She left her mansion and $80 million fortunate to Gunter III, her dog. Gunter III lived in the mansion along with a puppy he later fathered.
7. Jonathan Jackson – He left money to create a home just for cats. They could enjoy every room specially designed for felines, including an exercise room and auditorium with a live accordionist. Even the roof was designed for cats to climb without risk of falling.
8. Fredric Baur – This prolific inventor of the Pringles can requested he be cremated and buried in a Pringles can. His children followed through with the request but kept some of his ashes to be placed on a special urn – a Pringles can.
9. George Bernard Shaw – The Nobel Prize and Oscar-winning playwright demanded a new alphabet be created from his estate. Not only was a new alphabet created but his play “Androcles and the Lion” was translated and published in his alphabet.
10. Jeremy Bentham – This philosopher was an educator to the very end. He requested his body be publicly dissected as an anatomy lesson. His skeleton was then kept on public display at the University College London.
11. Charles Vance Millar – This Canadian lawyer was known to enjoy a good joke. He left his Jamaican vacation home in joint custody of three people who hated one another. Additionally, his estate was to be given to the woman who gave birth to the most children over the next 10 years.
12. Solomon Sandborn – This hat maker requested his skin be used to make two drums. The first drum was to have the Declaration of Independence written upon it. The other was to have the Pope’s Universal Prayer. The drums were then given to his friend who was to play “Yankee Doodle Dandy” at sunrise each year on June 17th at Bunker Hill.
13. T.M. Zink – This attorney had problems with women in his life. He left his wife nothing and his daughter only received $5. His will required this estate be placed in trust for 75 years. At that time, the balance should be used to build the “Zink Womanless Library.” The library would have no female authors or artists and women would not be allowed to enter. His daughter successfully contested the will and the library was never built.
As you can see, a will can be a powerful tool. For these people, a will allowed them to express their last wishes and values. Most people do not normally make such crazy and unusual requests. Instead, they typically use their will as the last chance to show their loved ones how much they care about them and provide them something personal to be remembered by.