Updated August 30, 2017
When putting together my last will and testament (because it’s Make a Will Month!), I wanted my will to be the best representation of myself. Being that I love a good joke (or pun), I thought I would leave my bequests in a humorous way (is there a better way to be remembered?). This got me thinking, has anybody else done this? Has anyone requested something out of the ordinary because they’re a little bit kookie like myself?
It wasn’t long before I found myself on Google and I came across these three fun bequests.
Robert Louis Stevenson
After learning that his friend Henry Clay Ide’s 12-year-old daughter, Annie Hathaway Ide, was not fond that her birthday was on December 25th because she did not get any special birthday celebrations, the famed author of the classic “Treasure Island” gifted the young girl his birth date of November 13th. In his document, it states: “(I) Have transferred, and do hereby transfer to the said A. H. Ide, All and Whole of my rights and privileges in the 13th day of November, formerly my birthday, now, hereby, and henceforth, the birthday of the said A. H. Ide, to have, hold, exercise and enjoy the same in the customary manner, by the sporting of fine raiment, eating of rich meats and receipt of gifts, compliments, and copies of verse, according to the manner of our ancestors.” He also went on to say that if she failed to follow through that the donation would be revoked, and all rights would be transferred to the President of the United States America.
After the death of his mother, Houdini became intrigued by the afterlife and spiritual mediums. The more time he spent visiting psychics and mediums, the more he became aware that most were frauds and he decided to dedicate his time to debunking them. Even though he was a skeptic he tried to keep an open mind about the supernatural, so he and his wife, Bess, promised that if there was a way for each of them to contact other from the afterlife they would do it. They created a secret message that they kept between themselves to make sure it was indeed the other person. When Houdini died on Halloween 1926, for reasons that are still undetermined, we discovered he suffered from acute appendicitis. In his will, Houdini bequeathed that his wife hold a seance every year on the anniversary of his death, so he could return to her, which she did for ten years.
A life-long comic book lover, Mark adored his job at Marvel Comics and was dedicated to it until the very end. And by that I mean—the very end. In 1996, Gruenwald died from a heart attack at the age of 43. In his will, he asked that he be cremated and his ashes mixed with the printer ink that would be used to publish the first compilation of the comic “Squadron Supreme.” The following year, Marvel allowed Gruenwald’s wife, Catherine, to sneak in and mix his ashes with the ink that would be used in all 5,000 copies of the “Squadron Supreme” graphic novel, a 100-page book comprised of the entire comic book series. It’s surreal to know that someone, somewhere, will always have a little piece of Gruenwald at their fingertips.
A will allows you to communicate your wishes and make things easier for the people you care about. Having a will as part of your estate plan will ensure all you leave behind will be taken care of according to your wishes; even if those desires include a seance on the anniversary of your death.