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13 Weird and Wacky Wills

And you thought your eccentric uncle’s will was odd.

Ice, Ice Baby

Psychology professor James Bedford has been on ice since 1967. Bedford is frozen in time at a Sonoran Desert cryogenics lab. He and 145 companions are resting in peace at a frosty 200 degrees below zero until the day they can be revived. 

In the Chill of the Night

Poor Ted Williams. His daughter produced a will in court stating he just wanted to be cremated. But his son John-Henry insisted the Williams’ had made a “family pact” on a cocktail napkin to be preserved in ice. The court accepted the cocktail napkin as Ted’s last will and testament, leaving him (and John-Henry, who joined him in 2004) out in the cold with Bedford. 

Widow Has No Regrets

Bedridden German poet Heinrich Heine thought he got the last laugh. His 1856 will left his estate to wife Crescence Eugenie Mirat, provided she remarried. “Because, then there will be at least one man to regret my death.” 

Puzzled Yet?

Madame Fernande Aubè composed her final wishes in the margins of a Sudoku magazine. Aubè already had a notarized will. When she discovered she had terminal cancer, she inked a new one on the grids of a Sudoku puzzle. The holographic or handwritten will, legal in Quebec and Ontario, was sealed in an envelope for her daughter. Aube’s heirs were unimpressed. But the court upheld it as her last will and testament.

‘Till Death Do Us Part

Saskatchewan farmer Ceil Harris was faithful to the end. Trapped under his tractor in a drenching downpour in 1948, Harris fought a desperate 10-hour battle waiting to be rescued. As the agonizing ordeal went on, Harris fished out a pocket knife and etched into the tractor fender: “In case I die in this mess, I leave all to the wife.” True to his wishes, a court upheld his will. The fender found its final resting place in a display case at the University of Saskatchewan law library.

Fun in the Sun

Practical joker Charles Vance Millar willed his Jamaican vacation property to three legal colleagues who hated each other, on condition they lived together. Fortunately for the trio, Millar sold the home before he died. 

Don’t Drink the Profits

A teetotaling group of 99 Toronto Protestant ministers got a share of Millar’s O’Keefe Brewery in Toronto, provided they operated it. They got a reprieve when O’Keefe’s was sold in 1928, leaving them $56.38 each.

Oh Baby!

The charming and childless Millar dropped dead in his law office in 1926. Even death didn’t prevent him from having his way with four Toronto women. Inspired by his will, they produced 36 children over 10 years. The Toronto millionaire set the frenzy in motion when he willed what was left of his estate ($10 million in 2020 dollars) to the Toronto mother or mothers who could produce the most children. The so-called Great Stork Derby was made infamous in a 2002 TV movie.

An Estate with Sole

Ft. Lauderdale Quaker State Refining Company heiress Eleanor Richey left 1,700 (mostly unworn) shoes to The Salvation Army when she died. The bulk of the over $4 million estate was willed to a trust to support her 150 rescue dogs. Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine got the “residue”, what was left after the last dog died in 1984.

A Chip Off the Old Block

Pringles can creator Fredric Baur was buried in his iconic metal potato chip container. His unusual urn rests in Springfield Township, Ohio, home of former Pringles producer Proctor and Gamble.  

A Double Whammy

Army veteran Ed Headrick repackaged the Frisbee plastic flying disc for his employer, Wham-O toys. When he died in 2002, his ashes were embedded in Frisbees distributed to his family and a few close friends. 

Raising a Glass

Roger Brown’s seven closest friends spent “a boozy weekend” in Berlin with his £3,500 ($5,394.30 CAD) gift. They apologized to his sons for their excess. “We spent most of it on beer, the rest we wasted,” Roger Rees reported.

Kindness to Strangers

Seventy absolute strangers were in the money when Portuguese aristocrat Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara passed through the pearly gates. da Camara chose his heirs from a Lisbon phone book. As a 70-year-old beneficiary told the local newspaper, “I’d never heard of the man.” A former employee put the 42-year-old bachelor’s gift in perspective: “He was a good man although he drank a lot.”

Get a Legal Opinion on Your Will

If you get the urge to leave your fortune to out of the ordinary heirs, get a legal opinion first from an Axess Law Ontario wills and estate lawyer. Convenient, flat fee video conference appointments can be made by calling toll free to 1-877-552-9377 or 647-479-0118 in Toronto or using our online booking form. In  person appointments can be arranged with a licensed lawyer at our Ottawa, Toronto, Scarborough, Etobicoke, Vaughan, Mississauga Winston Churchill or Mississauga Heartland law offices. 
Click here to learn more about Axess Law’s wills and estate services.

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