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Lessons to Learn From Unconventional Will Provisions

Creating a will is critical to ensuring a smooth transition upon your passing. However, this process can be greatly disrupted if it contains unconventional or difficult-to-follow provisions. To help you understand what’s realistic and what to avoid, we’ve put together a list of some of the more out-there will provisions.

Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek creator

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a man whose life was defined by space wished for his afterlife to be spent there. More specifically, Gene Roddenberry requested that his ashes be spread in outer space. So, both his and his wife’s ashes ended up in orbit.

Aside from sheer creativity, there are a few things we can learn from this. While a high amount of specificity is recommended, it’s possible to be too specific. Unless you also created one of the most successful television shows ever, requests like this that are literally out of this world may not be possible to fulfil.

So, be sure to keep your requests realistic. Dealing with the loss of a loved one will already be difficult for those involved in your estate. Burdening them with outlandish requests only adds to this.

Janis Joplin, Rock Star

Two days before she passed, legendary musician Janis Joplin set aside $2,500 for an all-night post-funeral party for 200 guests at her favourite pub in California.

While you may not be planning for a rock star-style blowout, it’s certainly wise to make considerations for your funeral and other activities that will follow your passing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you do all the heavy lifting of planning a funeral or wake. Rather, try to provide simple details to those who will most likely take on these responsibilities.

This could include items such as:

  • Funeral location
  • Size of funeral
  • Funeral speakers
  • Cemetery plot

Leona Helmsley, Businesswoman

Infamously known as “The Queen of Mean”, Leona Helmsley left behind an estimated five billion dollars in assets. In her will she left approximately twelve million dollars to her dogs, along with very specific instructions and care taking requirements.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this did not go smoothly. After much backlash, threats to hold the dog’s captive, and protests, a Judge reduced the dog’s inheritance to a mere two million dollars.

Though you may not be planning to make your pets rich, you should absolutely plan for what will happen to them when you pass. This includes determining who you’d like to look after them, confirming that with those prospective caretakers, and making it official.

Moving forward

All in all, there are a few key takeaways on this subject:

  1. Keep those mentioned in your estate in the loop. This is particularly necessary if the provisions that concern them require extra care, time, and effort.
  2. Consider all elements. Your will is not just for your assets. It should also include funeral arrangements and other important details.
  3. Be specific with your plans, but also realistic.