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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Ashley

8 Funny and Bizarre Stories About Wills and What People Leave Behind

Having a Will is incredibly important. And once you commit to crafting one with help from an estate planning attorney, the neat part is that your final wishes can include almost anything and be as detailed as you want in terms of what should happen next. Most people take this process seriously — as they should. But that doesn’t have to stop you from putting a creative and funny spin on the matter.


As we’ve learned over the years, people generally don’t hesitate to cover all their bases in their Wills. And if that means making people laugh, scratch their heads, or work harder than usual for their inheritance, then so be it.


We have written about this before, such as how billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley left $12 million to her 9-year-old Maltese named Trouble and how Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, requested that his ashes be scattered in space.


Trust us … it happened! Naturally, this got us thinking: how many more funny and bizarre stories about Wills are out there?


Below is what we found. We pulled these from various online sources.


8 Funny and Bizarre Stories About Wills and What People Leave Behind


  1. Harry Houdini, widely considered the greatest magician and escape artist of all time, was rumored by several online sources to have left his adoring wife a secret 10-word code in his Will. His plan, you ask? Well, he planned to use that code to contact her from the afterlife. She held annual séances on Halloween for 10 years after his death, but Houdini never appeared.

  2. A chemistry teacher with a sense of humor left a Will instructing that his ashes be mixed with his favorite chemical elements and placed in a lab flask on the mantle, with a sign that read, “Now, I’m really a part of the periodic table.”

  3. Toronto-based attorney Charles Vance Miller stated in his Will that he would bequeath a large sum of money to any Toronto woman who could produce the most offspring in the decade following his death. The result became known as the "Great Stork Derby." Four winners emerged in a tie for nine children; they each received about $125,000.

  4. An adventurous person was rumored to have left clues and a map in his Will, leading his heirs on a treasure hunt. The treasure chest at the end contained his estate documents.

  5. Vermont tanner John Bowman believed that after his death, he, his dead wife, and two daughters would be reincarnated together. When he died in 1891, his Will provided a $50,000 trust fund to maintain his 21-room mansion and mausoleum. The will required servants to serve dinner every night just in case the Bowmans were hungry when they returned from the dead. This stipulation was carried out until 1950 when the trust money ran out.

  6. Mark Gruenwald, the executive editor of Captain America, Iron Man, and other Marvel Comics heroes, stated in his Will that his ashes were to be mixed with the ink used to print the comic books. They were.

  7. After passing away in 1974, famous comedian Jack Benny went beyond monetary requests and chose something more heartfelt by insisting that a long-stemmed red rose be delivered to his widow, Mary Livingstone, every day for the rest of her life.

  8. An animal enthusiast once had a particular request in his Will, as he left a portion of his estate to a local animal shelter — provided that they agreed to name a new shelter wing after his beloved pet parrot.


Call Caitlyn Ashley Law Today!!


None of us will know what is around every corner in life. And just thinking about the what-ifs — what if I were to die or become incapacitated tomorrow; what if my child with special needs has no one to care for her; what if all my “stuff” isn’t passed onto the right people — can be overwhelming. But having a plan that accounts for your family’s unique circumstances, puts your affairs in order, has concrete solutions to your concerns, lays out your wishes and goals, and protects your family’s future provides peace of mind for the road ahead.


Caitlyn Ashley Law in Denton, Texas, will counsel you on which documents best suit your needs and ensure they are flexible enough to meet your changing needs for years to come.

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