You can't take it with you, but you can thoroughly annoy those that you leave behind. It's the ultimate F.U. to family, friends and co-workers as your will stipulates that they get nothing, or else have to comply with a bizarre series of acts in order to get their money-grubbing hands on your loot.
It's the perfect finale to the life of eccentric millionaires, angry, bitter-filled industrialists and heiresses with scores to settle. Or just general kooks and weirdoes. We have delved into the bequeathing archive and unearthed some of the most spiteful, strange and psychopathic legacies in history.
Samuel Bratt - 5-a-day Keeps The Money Coming
Pettiness is something that is horrible when it happens to you, but really, really entertaining when it happens to someone else. A case in point, is the unbelievable spitefulness of Mr. Bratt, who was forbidden by his missus to enjoy the odd slim panatela in the house. So when he died, he left all his money to her, on condition that she smoked five cigars day, every day, for the rest of her life. Not really sure how that could be enforced, if there was a witness or judge checking in on her every 24 hours. Tragically, she complied with his weird stipulation, but then blew the rest of the fortune on mouthwash.
T.M. Zink - No Women Allowed!
We've all had our problems and heartbreaks with the opposite sex. This sadness is often expressed in drinking, bad poetry or the musical career of James Blunt. But who knows what happened to Mr. Zink, a lawyer from Iowa, who died in 1930. Firstly, his wife got no part of his fortune at all. His daughter was slightly more lucky. She received $5. The rest of his estate was to be used to create the Zink Womanless Library, an establishment, which was not to feature any female contributions in any way. No Woman's Realm, no Little Women, no Buntys, nothing. He even insisted that the words 'No Women Admitted' be carved in stone over the entrance. I think it is safe to say that old Zinky was not a ladies man.
Henry Budd - No Mustaches Allowed
We don't know if Henry Budd had a Pogonophobia (a fear of facial hair – not a fear of pogo sticks as I thought) or if he'd had a bad experience at that bar downtown frequented by gentlemen of a certain ilk, but he obviously did not enjoy the hairy coating of the upper lip. When he died in 1862, he left his substantial wealth to his two sons on the condition that neither of them ever grew a moustache. Some people just can't get their heads around Movember.
Charles Millar - Be Fruitful And Multiply
What effect does hearing the term 'life and soul of party' have on you? If you have any sort of soul at all, it will fill you with dread and fear. Mr. Charles Millar could easily be described as 'wacky', 'zany' and 'a bit of a joker'. In other words, the worst possible sort of human being. This was thoroughly proven by the various stipulations of his will. He left his stock in a local brewery to some temperate Protestant ministers (hilarious!) His holiday home was bequeathed to some friends of his that hated each other (mirth making!) And most famously of all, he left everything else to the woman who could produce the most children over the next ten years. Four women, with nine children each shared the prize. We assume Charles was watching from above, giggling lightly, with a lampshade on his head. What a tit.
S. Sanborn - Walk To The Beat Of Your Own Drum
As adults, we have all managed to adopt that facial expression which says 'that gift you have given me is one of the most disgusting items I have ever encountered and I hope this blank, soul-less smile reflects that'. We imagine a similar expression was adopted by the members of the Harvard Medical School when the body of Mr Sanborn was left to the school for research. At first they must have been rubbing their hands with glee, having a nice new corpse to cut open and poke around in. But their faces might have fallen when they read the small print. The will stipulated that drums were to be made out of his skin and the tune Yankee Doodle played on them every June 17 at dawn. We do hope Mr. Sanborn made a lovely pair of bongos.
John Bowman - Death Really Gives You An Appetite
If you're not sure what to do with your cash, you can leave it to charity or set up a trust or even surprise that man you like who works at Londis. Or, if you're John Bowman, you can blow the lot on having your house maintained and meals cooked EVERY NIGHT after you and your family had passed on in the vague hope that you'd return form the dead and feel a bit peckish. Staff were on call to look after his mansion and serve dinner each evening. He died in 1891. The money finally ran out in 1950. So that's nearly sixty years of untouched Crispy Pancakes and Potato Waffles. I can't decide if being a ghost servant would be a great job or a really crap one. You'd probably get a lot of reading done.
Audrey Jean Knauerk - Fighting Crime And Taking... Money?
You can surprise, annoy and infuriate your nearest and dearest by passing them over will-wise and leaving it all to the cat or the postman or... Charles Bronson. Yes, that Charles Bronson. Mustachioed hard man, Death Wish protagonist and pleasantly squinty-eyed Charles Bronson. Audrey Knauer had never met, corresponded or hung out with the Hollywood star. But she must have seen The Evil That Men Do fairly frequently, as she left the actor $300K much to the anger of her family. Even more oddly, Charlie took it! Or half of it at least, with plans to donate it to charity. I plan to do a similar thing with the Chuckle Brothers. They have given me such pleasure over the years.
Leona Helmsley - Queen Of Mean & Beloved Trouble
She was known as the 'Queen of Mean' so it probably comes as no surprise that Leona used her will to screw a few people over one last time. Most of the cash went to a charity to look after dogs, with $12 million going to her own mutt, Trouble. Two of her grandkids got nothing, zero, zilch, with the will basically saying 'they know why'. While the other two grandchildren only got a slice if they visited their father's grave regularly and signing a book to prove their attendance. Hey, you don't get to be called the 'Queen of Mean' by being nice. The clue is in the title.