A will is one of the most interesting legal documents: just think how many copies were broken about it, how many deprived relatives gritted their teeth without receiving a penny ... Among quite ordinary and unremarkable documents, history knows also very original ones. We offer you to see only a few of the very best.
The most generous testament is made by billionaires around the world who have joined the Oath of Giving Club, a philanthropic campaign launched in June 2010 by American billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. The club encourages the wealthy people of the world to donate their fortune to charity. The minimum amount for all pledged donations is $ 125 billion.
The longest testament in the world was left behind by the hitherto unknown American housewife Frederica Evelyn Stilwell Cook in 1925. It consisted of 95, 940 words and was never read aloud in its entirety, as is usually the case. Mrs. Cook did not have a large fortune, and her movable and immovable property could be counted on one hand. But Mrs. Cook, who made many friends and enemies during her long life, had a brilliant memory and found a few words (good or bad is another matter) to all of them. She wrote a will for 20 years, and many who saw her doing this were sure that she was writing a novel. By the way, those who nevertheless were able to read the will in its entirety claim that it reads like a real women's novel, and if it is printed, then readership is guaranteed.
Several documents compete for the right to be considered the shortest will. Nevertheless, the last will of the German Karl Tausch is officially considered as such. On June 19, 1967, in the presence of a notary, he wrote only two words on a piece of paper with his own hand: "Everything to my wife."
The most offensive testament was made by the Australian Francis Lord, who, having written off his fortune to charities, friends and servants, at the end also mentioned his wife. He bequeathed her one shilling - so that she "bought a ticket on the tram, went somewhere and drowned herself."
The most pedantic testament was left by William is our Shakespeare. A man picky about every detail, he painted all his belongings - right down to the shoes.
The most laconic testament was left behind by a British banker. There were only three words in the document: "I am completely bankrupt."
The most "abusive" testament was left by a French shoemaker. In it, only 20% of decent words, all the rest represent a choice mate. So, this is probably where the expression "swear like a shoemaker" came from ...
The most insane testament was left by John Bowman, an entrepreneur from Vermont, who died after burying his beloved wife and two daughters. Absolutely confident that he would meet them in the next world and somehow be able to return to this world, he ordered to keep his mansion in full readiness to return and serve a late dinner every night. Bowman died in 1891. Late supper at his mansion stopped serving only in 1950, when the money allocated for the maintenance of the house and servants ran out.
The theater artist bequeathed himself to art. One of the theaters in Buenos Aires gladly accepted tens of thousands of dollars from former artist Juan Potomac, agreeing to the condition of the will that the skull of Mr. Potomaca would be used in productions of "Hamlet".
The most incomprehensible will belongs to Niels Bohr's assistant. The document is replete with professional terms and phrases that are understandable only to specialists, so both linguists and scientists worked hard to decipher it.
The most "cruel" testament left behind Mary Murphy, a wealthy Californian widow. She ordered to put her beloved dog Saido to sleep in order to "save the latter from the moral torment associated with the loss of the mistress." The Society for the Fight Against Cruelty to Animals has stood up for the dog, which has proven that killing a healthy and young dog violates California law.
The will, which undoubtedly went down in history, belongs to the businessman and scientist Alfred Nobel. According to this document, his numerous relatives received only 500 thousand crowns. The rest of the fortune - about 30 million - was spent on the foundation of the award.
The most mysterious testament was written by another rich man - Michelle Rothschild. The document is prohibited to make public the size of his fortune.
The most "ridiculous" will, if such a document can be called ridiculous at all, belongs to George Dorcas, who amassed his millions in the film industry. All 65 million was received by his faithful dog Maximilian, but the faithful, with whom the millionaire clearly did not get along, received only one cent. True, the wife of the deceased turned out to be more cunning: since Dorcas, in order to bequeath money to the dog, issued quite “human” documents for her, the woman married Maximilian, and when he died, she inherited everything.
The funniest testament was made by Canadian lawyer Charles Millar, whose will is not just a collection of not too kind jokes on his neighbors, but also a document that had a fantastic impact on the life not only of his hometown of Toronto, but also of Canada.
Charles Millar died in 1928, and his last will was an instant sensation. He mentioned in his will of two friends, a judge and a priest, who are known throughout Canada for their hatred of any form of gambling. He left them with a large block of shares in one of the racetracks. In addition to the fact that both of them profit from gambling as a result, they automatically - as shareholders - became members of the jockey club, with which they fought for many years. The judge and preacher accepted the gift.
Millar bequeathed shares of the brewing company to five more of his comrades, the principled opponents of drunkenness and alcoholic beverages. Only one in five refused the inheritance. To three more acquaintances who hated each other so much that they refused to be at the same time in the same place, he bequeathed his villa in Jamaica.
But the most important point was the all-time large sum of money that the lawyer bequeathed to "the Toronto woman who, within ten years from the time of my death, will give birth to the greatest number of children." They tried to challenge this clause of the will more than once in court, but Millar was a good lawyer, so there was nothing to complain about. What happened next in Canada was called the "big Toronto derby". The surge in fertility in Toronto and across Canada this decade has been phenomenal. As a result, on May 30, 1938, exactly ten years after Millar's death, the city court began considering inheritance claims. A woman who managed to give birth to ten children in ten years was disqualified - it turned out that not all of her children are from the same man, as Millar demanded. Another woman was also disqualified: she gave birth nine times, but five children were stillborn. Both ladies received a consolation prize of $ 13 thousand. $ 500 thousand were distributed in equal shares between four families, in which nine children were born in ten years. As newspapers later reported, there were no more children in these families.