Final Jokes, literally

A will is the last testament that is left by people for the direction of their property and assets after their death. Often, people bequeath their possessions to their progeny or their partners, donations are made to trusts, revelations of previously secret lives are revealed and as will be seen below, humor and disbelief often follows the directions of a few wills.

The Canadian lawyer and investor, Charles Vance Millar was known throughout his life as a practical joke maker with a brilliant sense of humor. Following his death in 1926, Millar directed that his vacation home in the Caribbean be left under the joint custody of three people. Though a seemingly normal request, Millar was aware of the fact that the three people he was leaving the house to, hated each other to the core. Millar also set in motion the ‘Great Stork Derby’ by setting aside a large portion of his money to be given to the woman who gave birth to the most babies over a prescribed ten year period. Many woman actually competed for the money and the reward was finally shared by four woman who gave birth to nine women each.

A close friend of Robert Louis Stevenson, Annie Ide , told Stevenson that she felt she did not have a real birthday as hers fell on Christmas day. Stevenson, author of such classics as Treasure Island left Ide a curious thing on his death in 1894, his birthday which was on November 13. The great Harry Houdini too left an equally curious thing for his wife on his death. He left her ten random words and told her to conduct a séance and that he would contact her through those words. His wife proceeded to fulfill his wishes for ten years but on Harry’s absence, stopped doing so.

A rich attorney from Iowa, T.M Zink died in 1930. Mr. Zink was a biased man and he had a strong dislike towards females. So much was his dislike that he placed $100,000 in a trust for the construction of a library. The library was to house no books written by women authors, no references were to be made to women, no work of art or furniture made by women were to be used. Mr. Zink went so far as to say that he wanted a sign in front of the library stating that no females would be allowed into the premises. His daughter challenged his will his court and eventually received all the money. Speak of irony.

A very humorous and light hearted will is that of John B. Kelly. Kelly was a triple Olympic gold winner and his daughter was the famous actress Grace Kelly who later married Prince Rainier of Monaco. Kelly’s last will and testament was a light hearted one which drew many laughs at the expense of his family. There is now better way to show it than to let the original wording of the will have its effect:

" [To my son John,] all my personal belongings, such as trophies, rings, jewelry, watches, clothing and athletic equipment, except the ties, shirts, sweaters and socks, as it seems unnecessary to give him something of which he has already taken possession…………..I don’t want to give the impression that I am against sons-in-law. If they are the right type, they will provide for themselves and their families, and what I am able to give my daughters will help pay the dress shop bills, which, if they continue as they started out, under the able tutelage of their mother, will be quite considerable."

Ken is an attorney who specializes in wills and last testaments. He is an executor of estates and is a will challenging specialist. Ken has a great sense of humor which help in the moribund procedures following death. He is a will challenging specialist, Disputing Wills.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *