Some people are concerned about how to write a will and how the legalities that will affect their will when they are gone. Others use their will as a tool just to show their loved ones how they would prefer their dog instead of them.

In any case, the deceased does have some very peculiar and eccentric ways of getting back to their families. For some family members, opening a will after someone from their family died is like witnessing the opening of Pandora’s box. They know all kinds of stuff will be unleashed that can affect the future of other family members, such as leaving their wealth to their favorite chicken.

Let’s take a look at some of the most bizarre wills in the online archives.

1. Sidmouth Blossoms

Keith Owen was a self-made millionaire born in 1938. He married at the age of 32 but this didn’t last long. He had no children from the marriage. During his travels, he was very fond of a city by the name of Sidmouth, a coastal town near Devon. Sidmouth was Keith Owen’s favorite holiday spot.

Tragically, at the age of 69, Keith was diagnosed with cancer. Knowing he would die soon he decided to donate his wealth to Sidmouth. He donated £2.256 million to plant a million flowers in Sidmouth.

Source: John Doornkamp/Design Pics/Corbis

2. Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost

Anne Hathaway was Shakespeare’s spouse and also a very notable writer. Shakespeare had three daughters. Susanna Hall was one of his daughters. Hamnet Shakespeare and Judith Quinney were twins and also called the “Bard of Avon” their father.

We don’t know what kind of family life he had with his wife. But the only thing Anne Hathaway got from Shakespeare’s will was his “second-best bed” and some pieces of furniture. The majority of his estate went to his daughter Susanna Hall.

Lawyers from tell us that this will could have been easily challenged in a court of law today in favor of his spouse.


3. Family Tradition Doesn’t Go On

Wellington R. Burt was one of the wealthiest men of his time in the United States. He was from Saginaw, Michigan. Burt was considered to be one of the eight wealthiest men in the United States in the period of the early 1900s. Without a will, his nuclear family would be some of the wealthiest members of American society.

One of the conditions of his will is that his wealth will only be divided after 21 years have passed from the death of his last surviving grandchild. To add insult to injury he only left his immediate family an annual allowance of $1,000. The same as he did to his coachman, cook, and housekeeper.

Source: Wall Street Journal

4. The “Queen of Mean”

Leona Helmsley’s husband, Harry Helmsley was a hotel owner and operator. Harry was also a real estate investor in the 1990s. When Harry Helmsley died in 1997 he left his wife with almost $5.5 billion. Upon receiving her fortune she wrote a will with most of her assets in favor of the needy and the poor.

After 10 years had passed her wealth had still not subsided. In her will, she left nothing to her 12 great-grandchildren. She left her dog “Trouble” with $12 million. The court later reduced the initial $12 million to $2 million for the dog.

“Trouble” now the owner of millions, lives in Florida and also gets death threats regularly. Tragically her dog died in 2010 at the age of twelve. Leona had specifically excluded Craig Panzirer and Megan Panzirer from her will. Ironically, after the dog dies Craig and Megan will most likely get most of the proceeds from the dog’s inheritance through a court order.

Source: Commonplace Fun Facts –

5. The Birth competition

Canadian lawyer Charles Vance Millar passed away in 1926, and he started a competition with his will. He allocated a large part of his wealth as a reward. The last wish of the eccentric lawyer was that the money could be taken over by a married woman, who in the next ten years, since his death, must give birth to the most children in Toronto. Thus, started the birth competition.

This competition became known as the Stork Derby because people did everything and anything for money during the Great Depression, the Huffington Post reminded. The Supreme Court of Canada has repeatedly tried to annul the will. Numerous ladies cheated, reported children born before the competition, or while they were not married, which was against the rules.

After ten years, the lawyers took over the case and for the next year and a half, they decided who should win. In ten years, four ladies gave birth to nine children each and won the award. They shared the money, and each received $ 125,000.

Source: CR Fashion Book

6. A pet villa

To most humans, pets are like family members, and sometimes even more than that, as the creator Alexander McQueen proved, with his last wish. As many know, he committed suicide in 2006, and his last will was read soon after that. His last wish was to take care of his pets, leaving them about 80,000 dollars for food, clothes, and accommodation. Such wills are not uncommon, a few years ago a rich woman from Florida bequeathed a house worth several million dollars and some more money in cash to her pets.

Source: Useless Information

7. Women free library

M. Zink was a wealthy American lawyer in the 1930s. After his death, he left his daughter and wife without money! More precisely, the daughter allegedly received five dollars, and the wife received one cent.

He invested all his savings and real estate in the value of about 100,000 dollars to a fund that he established independently. He bequeathed the money for 75 years, hoping that after this period, the fund will grow to more than three million dollars. His wish was to establish a library from this money with a single condition. No woman is to step foot in it, and people will know this because it will be engraved on the door. Literature written by women is to be prohibited, also.

His daughter managed to start a court process that proclaimed him insane, so his wish was never implemented.

At the end of this article, we can only hope you do not have such people in your family.