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Whacky Wills from the rich and famous

Dec 21, 2019

The process of leaving a Will is usually fairly straightforward but, for this festive blog, let’s take a peek at some of the more eccentric Wills that have emerged from the world of celebrity.

How about the posthumous inventing of a new alphabet? Or the establishment of a female-free library - no women allowed, either as library users or authors?!

Enjoy these whacky Wills and enjoy a great Christmas too!

William Shakespeare

The bard requested that his wife receive his second-best bed. Why not his best bed? It’s not as though he had much further use for it. Perhaps it’s a question of going from bed to verse.

Leona Helmsley

The super-rich hotel owner wasn’t known for being blessed with the milk of human kindness. The somewhat less-than-honourable lady famously once declared, ‘only little people pay taxes’. She earned her comeuppance with a spell in gaol. When she died, Ms Hemsley left $10 million to her brother, $5 million to her grandsons, and $12 million to her Maltese dog.

Napoleon Bonaparte

A somewhat macabre request from the fallen emperor. He ordered that, following his death, his head should be shaved and his hair divided among friends.

Gene Roddenberry

The creator of Star Trek wanted to ‘boldly go where no man has gone before.’ As you’ve probably already guessed, this involved having his ashes scattered in space. His wish was granted and his ashes were successfully released via a satellite orbiting earth.

Marilyn Monroe

The 20th-century icon decided against passing on her legacy to her family. Instead, she left everything to Lee Strasberg, her acting coach. All of her personal effects were left in Strasberg's basement until he himself died.

Fred Baur

Fred was the founder of Pringles. Have you already guessed? Yes - no coffin or urn for this entrepreneur of the savoury snack. He insisted that his ashes were to be buried in one of his iconic Pringle ‘cans’.

William Randolph Hearst

The newspaper magnate employed an intriguing ruse to deter people from claiming to be his illegitimate offspring.  He insisted that anyone who could prove they were his child should be given the grand sum of … one dollar.

Dusty Springfield

The singer was rather fond of cats. Keen to ensure that her favourite, Nicholas would be properly looked after, she made sure that he would always be fed with specially imported baby food, given an indoor treehouse, and serenaded with Dusty’s old records. His sleeping space was to be lined with Dusty’s nightgown and pillow. Finally, lucky old Nicholas was formally married to a female cat belonging to one of her friends.


In his song “Black Jesus”, the rapper made reference to his final wish - that his friends were to smoke his ashes. They were happy to oblige - having mixed a cocktail of the ashes and their favourite weed - allegedly!

Jeremy Bentham

The lawyer and philosopher decreed that his body be preserved, stuffed with hay, and put on display in the University College London. This request was followed to the letter and his body is still on display!

George Bernard Shaw

The playwright instigated the creation of a new alphabet. It was to be phonetic and 40 letters long. Within a year of his death in 1950, his wish was carried out … to the letter.

Ed Headrick

The inventor of the Frisbee believed his invention to be something of a religion and asked for his ashes to be made into a set of limited-edition Frisbees. An idea that’s possibly a little far-flung.

Charles Vance Miller

The Canadian attorney’s will stipulated that in the decade following his death, whichever Toronto woman produced the most offspring would acquire a large sum of money from his estate. Four women (each with nine children) “won” the contest and received about $125,000 each.

T.M. Zinc

This lawyer held a pretty low opinion of women. Setting up trusts is an approach of which Adept Asset Solutions has always approved. In this case, we’d perhaps have been less supportive. Zinc’s trust fund of $50,000 was aimed at creating a library devoid of women. No books, art or decorations made by women. No women employees and certainly no women visitors.

Fittingly, Zink’s own daughter successfully contested the will and his family inherited the money instead. The womanless library never happened. Surely a victory for women’s libraration.

Ask the expert - always

One factor which may govern how you distribute your estate is how you wish to be remembered. So, these instances of celebrity Wills might just make you think carefully about your options. Of course, your best option is to consult an expert - a specialist who can advise you how to give yourself the best chance of distributing your estate and possessions fairly and equitably. For exactly that kind of specialist advice …

Contact Tim Mullock on 01234 713021
Or email

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