Some people are lucky enough to get written into a will, but others, not so much. Wills can be a great way to give the world the finger after death. There seems to be a lot of lucky cats, though.
sour_patch_kid__ asked: Lawyers who put together wills, what is the craziest/oddest thing someone wanted to put in theirs?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
40. It's what Donny would have wanted.
A relative worked for a firm preparing wills and was confronted by an Executor who had an edict to "scatter the deceased's ashes from a microlight aircraft". He couldn't fly one.
She kindly pointed out to him that the drafting said nothing about whether said microlight was in flight at the time of scattering.
I once read an academic article where such a scattering had gone wrong instead them being spread over a wide area the bag got caught in the wind and the cremains fell through someone's front porch.
39. P E T T Y.
I am a qualified solicitor, my favorite two are:
- A lady wanted to create a trust fund of £100,000, for her pet fish. When I asked if it was a special kind of fish, she confirmed it was just a normal goldfish but she wanted it to be fed fresh avocado every day and be looked after by a local dog walker after she died. She was absolutely serious.
- Another lady confessed she had a secret daughter, and she wanted to leave the daughter some money and photographs without the rest of her family finding out. Even her husband does not know. That will be a fun conversation when she passes away.
I've just finished studying Equity and Trusts, so was curious, did she create a fully secret trust for the daughter? Or just put her in the will?
She decided that her other daughter was reasonable enough to effect her wishes and keep it secret, so we had a letter of wishes that the daughter would get as the Executor.
She didn't want anything written into the Will itself for fear the rest of her family would see it so there was a note attached to the Will that the letter should be given to the daughter.
When my grandfather passed his will asked that I clean out his shed, and I alone.
I found marijuana seeds, old reel style film pornography, which was hilarious and a bunch of other unsavory paraphernalia. 50's flick knives too.
So like clearing his browsing history for him, but cooler.
clearing his browsing history
This is a sacred duty and honour not to be taken lightly.
Can we hear more about this "unsavory paraphernalia?"
There was so much collected weird sh*t. He had two old standup double door fridges, that were not plugged in, being used for storage inside his shed.
Intricate metal drug pipes, as well as intricate little ivory boxes. Designer coke spoons, presumably from the booming 70's obsession, a hot box, which I had to google what it was.
An entire fridge was dedicated to old fashion adult videos, on slides. Which was more adventurous than you'd expect, lots of knives and switch blades.... oh and a crisper draw filled with plastic dick whistles.
Literally little plastic penis shaped whistles. All colors.
37. Grandpa is still in charge.
My great-grandad had a clause in his will that stated something along the lines of, "if any of the beneficiaries decide to dispute the contents of the decedent's estate, their share becomes $1 and nothing else."
Seemed like a pretty good way to maintain harmony among his survivors.
I have this in my will. If someone isn't happy with my dying wish, they can politely say "no" and pass on it. If someone wants to be greedy, they get nothing but a dollar minus postage and handling.
36. The richest man in solitary.
I used to work at a bank in the estates department. I was an administrator who had to manage the files including encroachments upon the capital (i.e. "I want to take some money out now, please").
I had this one account - multi-million dollar trust for one single beneficiary - the son of the deceased. What's interesting is that the son killed the parents... with a hammer in grotesque and brutal fashion. He plead insanity.
He would call once a year from the penitentiary / mental hospital, requesting $50 for commissary (to buy chips and gum). The call was always strange.
He was very polite, very doped up. The quality of the call was always very "tinny" like he was far away from the phone.
How was he still the beneficiary? Wouldn't that be voided if he murdered them?
My understanding is that in this case, since it was determined that the beneficiary was not of sound mind and was placed in an institution as a result of his actions, he is not in fact convicted. Thus, the terms of the trust would hold true.
Had he been deemed guilty and of sound mind, the trust should have been voided.
35. Well done.
I'm not a lawyer, but my grandfather saved his kidney stone so that he could leave it to my cousin. They never really got along.
I really like the cut of your grandfathers jib.
34. Mom needs to get outside more.
Not a lawyer but my mom put in her will that if she dies under suspicious circumstances that my sister and I won't be left anything. She watches a lot of true crime.
That's a little sad but also pretty funny. Is your mom very wealthy to warrant such suspicion?
She's an upper middle class realtor. She makes money but not enough to be murdered over. Also neither of us are murderers lol.
Edit to clarify: she doesn't make enough that she should be worried about getting murdered for her money like a billionaire would.
It's not something that would typically cross someone's mind who makes like 150k a year. My mom says a lot of weird sh*t like this.
33. Send cats.
Just last week I handled a matter where the parents left millions in artwork to various people, wads of cash to various charities, and only left their kids the family cats.
Turns out they did it because the kids got them the cats to comfort the parents in their old age and the parents f*cking hated the cats but the kids wouldn't let them get rid of the cats.
Imagine hating some cats so much you don't give your kids any of your families wealth. Nice
Yeah, but the kids are doing very well financially. Mom and Dad bought them homes and such. I don't feel TOO bad.
32. The shade of it all.
I read a lot of estate documents as part of my job. There is so much subtle shade in them occasionally, they can be pretty entertaining.
One super wealthy lady had a huge section for the care and well being of her pets, with primary and successor caretakers, a certain amount of money from the trust for care and feeding of each pet (one pet owner might receive 3k a month to take care of one of her pets after she passed), and certain stipulations on how they were to be cared for.
While some might see it as excessive, the language and stipulations she had, and how they were referred to showed that she really, really loved her pets.
In that same will and trust, she also left a slew of people only one dollar, so that there would be no chance they could take the trust to probate court one the basis that they were merely forgotten.
That part had SO MUCH SUBTLE SHADE. A lot of "they know what they did," "they are well aware of their guilt in the matter." etc. They she split up about 2 million dollars among 5 or 6 different animal rescues and animal welfare charities.
It was around 200 pages long, and I swear I read the entire thing just for the sheer entertainment value.
31. The cats are making the most of the good life.
Not a Lawyer, but an aging woman my family knew left her house (large, and in a very affluent neighborhood) and estate to family friends for so long as her cats were alive and taken care of in said house.
After they died, the house was to be sold and the remaining estate donated.
The weird thing is, it's been like 20 years and the cats are still alive.
Also, they've changed color.
Haha! My kids had a fish that changed color. It too lived an especially long life.
The weird thing is, it's been like 20 years and the cats are still alive.
Also, they've changed color.
I know someone who is the caretaker in a setup just like this. "D" has use of the home as long as she tends to the animals.
"D" told me the punchline when I was visiting. Her life-partner "B" wanted to just leave the house in her will, but the taxes and related stuff was a giant mess and family members had already made it clear they would contest and make life hell for "D".
So with a lawyer's assistance, she had it written up as a trust or something, so "D" could stay in the house as long as the pets were alive and well.
Then "B" went out and bought a baby tortoise.
30. Who knew you could legally be this wholesomely petty.
Not a will, but a deed. The City I work for was renovating a small park that was donated to the City in the 1910s. We went looking through the hand-written deed for easements or other restrictions and found that the family could claw the property back if the park were not, "perpetually provided with a fountain of pleasant running water fit for consumption by man and beast alike." ...the family still has descendants in town, so we installed a new water fountain with a dog bowl filler just to be safe.
Okay but this is such a wholesome "restriction."
Damn, that would have been some find if the family paid attention to their own history.
29. Gotta protect the family.
My sister's mother in-law is leaving her house to her three sons. If one wants to sell out his third of the house, he has to sell it to the other two brothers for $1.
What if all 3 want to sell it together?
They can sell it if all three agree. I think she wants her sons to use it like a cottage, a place where they will visit and stay for awhile. Tow of the sons live on lakes nearby so they would never use it as such.
The third son lives with his mom in the house.
He does take on a lot of the care responsibilities of his mom (she is 93), so that is nice. The other two brothers have done most of the home maintenance for decades, including weekly mowing and cleaning and they still help in her care.
When she dies, which unfortunately could be very soon, the third son might not move out. He could freeload in that house forever and his brothers would have to share in the tax payments and upkeep if they want to maintain their inheritance.
28. Classic power move.
Not me, but whenever I visited my old grandma in Nicaragua, it would always seem my aunts and uncles would be weirdly nice to her, almost as if she was a famous person.
People would be visiting her house to greet her and strike a conversation. One day, my mother walked into my grandma's room to have a conversation with her.
I remember during the flight back (3-4 after the conversation) I asked her what the conversation was about. She told me that grandma used to have childeren that almost never talked to her, and now that shes sickly they are trying to act nice to get stuff out of her will.
My grandma wanted to talk to my mom to ask her what she wanted from the house. My mom was always the favorite growing up since she cherished grandma, and grandma wanted to pay her back for being a good daughter.
My mom replied with "I don't want anything for you, I just want your love" and they both smiled at eachother.
(Also she wanted us to take a washing machine back home to sell it for cash, but we declined)
FYI: She's still alive. Grandma aint giving up yet.
A furby collection from models collected in the late 90's. They were convinced they would retain future value.
This was 2011.
The best part was she had named each of them so in the will I had to associate each nicknamed furby to the grantee grandchild.
I never got to see the distribution of that one but it had to be a good one. She did the same for lots of paintings and things around her house but those nicknamed furbies were the best.
26. This is meticulous, and really cool.
Here's one from one of my dad's law partners. He had a lady come in with an itemized list of books and wanted her will to contain all of the books and who will get what based on her choosing.
So basically she decides who gets what specific book instead of letting her beneficiaries decide. The truly astonishing thing is how many books and how specific they get.
According to dad's law partner her list is at about 2,000 books to be divided among about 30 people. She is apparently very specific and comes back at least once a year to add all the new books she's gotten.
So basically she decides who gets what specific book instead of letting her beneficiaries decide.
This is actually pretty thoughtful. As strange as it may sound, it sounds like she's picking the books out based on what the person may be interested in or is likely to enjoy.
It makes it infinitely more meaningful that each book was handpicked just for them!
It also saves people a lot of hassle. Imagine some woman you know has died, and you and 29 other people have to sort through 2000+ books to see if you want any, and then negotiate with anyone if you and them happen to like the same book.
25. Sagely wisdom.
My grandpa gave me all his tools(which sounds dumb but we are in the same trade and it was a real life changer, it included a lift and his old shop truck so I pretty much got everything to start my own shop but a building) a pretty good chunk of change, and his dog Tanner, as long as I made sure his live in girlfriend at the time got nothing at all and I told my uncle he was fat and his wife was going to leave him if she couldn't find his pecker.
There was literally a script inside the will. It all went smooth and my uncle lost weight and Janice is an ahole and it turns out Tanner is kind of an assh*le too but it's OK becuase my grandpa was kind of an ahole (a good one but still) and they have the same mustache and eyebrows so now I come home from work every day and get stared down by my grandpa while I poop.
He gotta make sure you did everything he told you. Omans.
24. Going out giving the world the finger.
Not a lawyer, work for a will writers / trusts specialist in the UK, currently studying toward my TEP.
One of our earlier clients passed recently. Turns out the man she left almost everything to, including the residue of her estate--which was considerable--was her regular taxi driver. She had also named him as her executor. He had no clue.
The woman named as her executor and main beneficiary on her previous two wills, a close friend of many years, was understandably flabbergasted and contested the will.
We responded to her solicitor's Larke v Nugus request, informed Mr Taxi Driver (who didn't even know our client had passed) and the will was upheld. Aforementioned friend was left a legacy of £5000 if I remember correctly, but her nose was clearly out of joint.
Bonus observation: it takes a lot less than £5000 being up for grabs to make families turn against each other. Can get really nasty. One of the most startling things I've learned in my short time in this business.
23. Extra credit.
I had the first son so my dad decided to leave me more. Except he did the math wrong and it came out to 105%. He had dementia.
My wife's grandma is not putting the grandkids in the will to not play favorites, but my wife is her favorite so she made my wife the executor and gave whoever the executor just happens to be 5%
How much did you actually get?
Six grand more than my sisters. I gave it to them. They didn't want it but it was just too weird.
22. What granny doesn't know...
I'm the executor of my grandmother's will. I also get the house and everything in it and a share of life insurance that's split three ways between myself, sister, and mom.
My mom has always said that all my dad, my grandmothers son-in-law, would like to have is some table. Well in the will there's like a whole paragraph that states how my dad gets nothing, he doesn't lay a finger on any thing in the house or any money.
How my dad is basically worthless and deserves nothing and how he was a crap dad and that she begrudgingly has my mom in the will. Thanks grandma I'll appreciate the awkwardness.
21. People who probably shouldn't have been married in the first place...
So this is related. Worked on a divorce up a couple who fought over every single thing in the house. Separating pillows and such.
They were left 52 gallons of vanilla extract by her grandmother. In a secondary preceding he was awarded all but 5 gallons.
Two weeks later he sent in a case of "samples" in zip lock baggies to our office along with a request to subpoena a urine test from his ex-wife to prove she pissed in the jugs before he picked them up.
We never needed to as she screamed in court that she, "pissed them full just like he pissed all over her during their marriage." They were neat.
This same couple went to court for nearly two years over a beanie baby collection. They had three kids.
My vindictive grandmother left my aunt $20 as a reminder of the $20 my aunt stole from her once.
My grandfather left my uncle three things from his rather valuable estate:
- One dollar in unrolled pennies
- A framed copy of the contract my uncle signed saying he owed my grandfather >$100k (never repaid)
- A framed copy of the letter my uncle sent my grandfather saying he was disowning my grandfather for "being cheap" with my grandfather having written "accepted asshole" and signed his name
I was only a kid but I understood, and laughed at it when I heard my uncle cursing my grandfather to the attorney. Still laugh today and my grandfather was right, he is an assh*le.
E: wow, so this blew up. Ummmm. Thank you for the silver and just wow!
I've read that you should always list something for relatives you don't like in your will, even if it's just 1 dollar, so that they can't argue that they were forgotten and try to get more stuff.
This takes it to another level though. Awesome.
19. I would do this.
Not a lawyer, but I work at a law firm.
One client left $100,000.00 to his two cats so they could "maintain their current lifestyle."
"... in the manner to which they've become accustomed."
My grandma left a penny and a nasty comment to almost every person in the will, all of her sons and daughters, even a few grandchildren, except for me. I got 1,000 dollars.
Pardon my curiosity but why were you the only one exempted of nasty commments ?
All I remember is being nice to her when I was 5-6, I always liked cats and she was a cat lady, and I was the youngest, most susceptible to manipulation.
It sounds like a bad thing to say, but witches run in my moms side of the family, mainly because a mother abuses her daughter, who then abuses her daughter, and so on.
It's actually pretty insane, and none of them realize what they're doing. 0 self-awareness between the lot of them.
17. Is that a win?
Not a lawyer but my grandpa put in his will a chocolate bar for everyone one of his grand kids. Well I have like 12 cousins and very difficult to track down where a couple of them went.
All this estates and money he had in will was at a stand still for months because they couldn't find my couple cousins.
Had to show court we put in effort to hire someone to track them down etc. The lawyer that was helping execute the Will was blown away that this lawyer allowed this and why he wouldn't highly suggest not to do it.
But I'm not complaining cause I got a Toblerone out of the deal!
Pretty smart way to ensure all the cousins would be informed, and force them to check in on each other.
16. Worth it.
I (early 20s) was forced to write a will due to the health insurance I get at work, and, amongst sensible stuff, the in-house lawyer said it was totally okay for this clause to be added:
"My funeral wishes are that I be buried in a coffin which has been springloaded, such that opening the coffin would cause alarm to future archeologists"
Then a bunch of stuff about if this is to costly I'd be cremated and have my ashes scattered in a specific place.
😂 I was always curious if I could request my head be removed from my body before burial in the case of a zombie outbreak so I would do minimal damage to future generations.
15. Really, mum?
In my Mums will, which I have seen, she has left me the kitchen table and chairs.
She lives on a South Manchester council estate.
My brother gets the sideboard.
My mother told me that she wrote my older brother and older sister out of her will.
I assume I am also written out of it, though I doubt she'd tell me because she wants to be around my child.
She doesn't get to be, but whatever makes her feel better about herself. If three of your kids aren't talking to you, then we might not actually be the problem...
My mum is exactly like that. Neither my brother or I want to be close to her but she's constantly telling me what a good mother she is and she doesn't understand why we are acting this way.
My old landlord took 2 years to boot me out because her mother who owned the place died and she wanted to sell the place.
But her mother's carer said the mother verbally promised the house to her. Even though it was not written in the will it still took 2 years of fighting in court to clear things up.
No, the carer didn't get it in the end even after all the appeals.
13. Going to the grave with principles.
My great grandmother left most of her money to a local donkey sanctuary.
My great aunt did this but to a llama sanctuary. She had about 2 million when she died, left half to a small church in the middle of nowhere and the other half to a llama sanctuary. She left each of her family members about $25.
Was there some sort of feud this aunt had?
She had no children of her own, and to be honest most of the family was pretty entitled and were making plans for how they'd spend her money when she died.
It was her final fuck you to the people spending her money before she was even gone. I was about 9 at the time and was thrilled at the $25 I got.
12. This is sweet.
Client wanted her ashes spread at the restaurant (on the beach) where she met her husband.
11. "Kill things and bury them with me."
I work in probate. The oddest thing I've seen in a will is to euthanize their beloved horse, have it cremated and it's ashes scattered with the decedent.
Lucky for her horse, she named a horse that was already dead so the one she got afterwards lived to see another farm.
That is so odd. I'm happy the other horse got to live on
Had a friend who had a toxic relationship with his uncle. When his uncle passed he was surprised to find he was in the will.
Turns out there was a handwritten IOU that read "I'm leaving you 15k BUT you have to come get it from me. I'll see you in hell!" My friend laughed.
Now if he were to go to Hell Michigan could he argue that he went to the designated meeting spot but his uncle never showed therefore technically holding up his end of the stipulation?
9. "Upon my death, unleash hell."
Lots of people sending their friends and family on weird errands to spread their ashes (leaving money for people to take trips and spread their ashes around the world).
Pet trusts are a fun one: leaving a whole whack of money in a trust to be used for the care of the pet during their life.
However, my favorite ever (that I obviously didn't draft) was a lawyer who left the bulk of his estate (millions in today's dollars) to whatever Toronto-area woman had the most children at a specific date some years in the future.
I recall the winner had 10.
8. This should be fun.
Lawyer here. Probably the woman who wanted to gift the frozen semen of her dead dog.
7. Is this even enforceable?
Saw this answer from a similar question some time ago. When a dad died he set up financial installments so long as his daughter remains under a certain weight. Dude was controlling her diet from the grave.
A famous case most law students read is of a mother who left a ton to her son- provided he married a Jewish woman. Well, he was already married to a non-jewish woman. Big mess.
I wonder what the stipulations were about maintaining the marriage or controlling the wealth after the simple fact of marriage.
Sign a contract with wife to no-fault divorce and remarry in a year, sign a prenup with a Jewish woman who wants to get married for the money and then divorced, and bang.
6. Knock knock.
Me and a friend from middle school have an agreement that he gets 10 bucks out of my estate.
I also want all beneficiaries notified by a mysterious man in a dark suit preferably on a dark rainy day.
5. You know what you did.
A good clause is always "for reasons known to them." which is will-speak for "you've gone and f*cked up, assh*le. I don't forgive you."
In my own will, I've left my father "The contents of my kitchen trash can at the time of my passing, for reasons known to him."
Serious question: do you expect your father to outlive you, or are you requesting the contents of the trash can to be delivered to his final resting place?
If its the former, my sympathies.
He could very well do so. His side of the family lives forever. Like, reaching 100+ isn't unheard of.
I "take after" my mother's side, which has significant heart disease.
I understand I could follow either, both, or neither... but I could also get hit by a bus tomorrow and die unexpectedly. I figured it was safest to actively disinherit him rather than stay silent and assume I'll outlive him.
My grandfather left me $1.00, he had dementia and confused my dad ripping him off with me.
He left the rest of the family between $100,000 And a few million each. They all said they felt horrible because they knew the details, but not horrible enough to give up any of their share.
The way I see it is it was never my money to begin with, so it's not a loss. I'm just glad my sister got a hundred thousand, she needed it more than any of the others.
They all said they felt horrible because they knew the details, but not horrible enough to give up any of their share.
Funny how that works out.
Worked with a client who wanted language that her cats would be euthanized and buried with her. We had to explain why legally we couldn't do that.
The moral part just went over her head. One of the few clients who ever got under my skin.
2. Gran wasn't happy.
Not a lawyer but my grandmother's will stated that my father had to outlive her by a certain amount of time (I honestly don't remember exactly how long, I was 15).
My father died less than a month after she did, so instead of things going to my father the next step was the estate being divided between me, my sister, and two cousins. It was so bizarre!
I would guess that your grandmother didn't care for your fathers wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/whatever? Or someone that he might name in his will?
This sounds like a tactic to give the money to your dad without it going elsewhere, or make sure it went to you/sister/cousins.
1. We have a winner.
My Grandmother had her boobs done when she was in her 60s, nothing really wrong with that, but when she died, she wanted an open casket with her boobs on display.
Really Nanna? She passed away at 80 and got exactly what she asked for. Grandad had ended up sticking 2 strategically placed daisies on her boobs.
So she got what she wanted and so did Grandad. RIP Granny, you silly b$%ch, love you.
Imaging not being warned of this ahead of time. You rock up to the casket and see and old ladies surprisingly perky fun bags on display.