Most of us have a whole host of small, niggly jobs that they have been putting off for weeks. I’m no different. The cold tap in the bathroom is constantly dripping, there is a missing screw in my daughter’s play kitchen, the back door is sticking and even now as I write, I still haven’t taken out the recycling. I’ll do it tomorrow is fast becoming one of the most common phrases in our household, but worryingly, it is one that people are using when it comes to writing a will.
It is worrying because writing a will is possibly one of the most important jobs you will ever accomplish and yet two thirds of the population have yet to put pen to paper. If you are one of those yet to have written a will then be warned, because when you die, everything you own will be shared out in a set way that is defined by law. It isn’t just personal possessions, it could mean that your children end up being cared for by people who you would not necessarily nominate to be future guardians. Not only that, by not having a will in place there will be further delays, meaning loved ones will have to go through additional stress. If none of that is enough to encourage you to stop putting it off, it is very likely that it will end up costing your family more money as there will often be more inheritance tax to pay.
While lots of people have yet to write their will, I’m glad to say that plenty have and so I have come up with 10 of the most bizarre requests from the rich and famous.
10) Pringles founder, Fred Baur requested to be cremated and buried inside a Pringles can.
9) Mayfair millionaire, Golda Bechal, left almost all of her £10 million fortune to her favourite Cantonese restaurant.
8) In around 1880, Jonathan Jackson left money for the creation of a cat house with bedrooms, a dining hall and an auditorium.
7) Heiress Eleanor E. Ritchey passed on her $4.5 million fortune to her 150 dogs when she died in Florida in 1968.
6) Benjamin Franklin asked that his daughter not engage in “the expensive, vain and useless pastime of wearing jewels”.
5) John Bowman left $50,000 for servants to prepare dinner every night after his death in case he came back to life.
4) Gunther IV, a German shepherd dog, inherited a reputed £90 million from his father (also a dog) Gunther III. Papa Gunther had initially inherited his fortune from a German countess, Karlotta Liebenstein and the money was handed down to his pup.
3) Napoleon Bonaparte requested that his head be shaved and the hair divided up amongst his friends.
2) Samuel Bratt, who was a dedicated smoker left his non-smoking wife £330,000 on the condition she smoked five cigars every day.
1) American hat maker, S. Sanborn, willed that his skin was to be made into two drums to be given to a friend to pound “Yankee Doodle” every year on 17 June.