Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ten Fun Facts About Estate Planning

Unknown1. In 1829, James Smithson created the Smithsonian Institution through a bequest in his last will and testament.

2. The longest will ever probated was 1,066 pages and 95,940 words. An English woman, Frederica Evelyn Stilwell Cook, holds this record.

3. The shortest known wills are only three words long, reading, “all to son” and “all to wife.”

4. A recent study indicates that approximately 11 percent of Britons have their internet passwords in their last will and testament.

5. In Alberta, Canada, your last will and testament remains valid when you get divorced, but it is automatically invalidated when you get married.

6. Famous Americans who have died without a will include: Sonny Bono, Kurt Cobain, John Denver, Chris Farley, Howard Hughes, and Martin Luther King Jr.

7. Del Close asked that his skill go to Chicago’s Goodman Theatre so that he could be Yorick in Hamlet after his death. No one would remove his head from the body, so he was ultimately cremated intact. The executor of his estate 

8. The “will of Uah” is the oldest known will in existence, and it was found in a tomb in Egypt. It dates back to 2548 BC, and leaves all property to his wife, Teta.

9. Historians found a power of attorney from 561 BC Mesopotamia.

10. Living wills, which allow people to control their end-of-life medical treatment, are a recent estate planning mechanism. California became the first state to allow living wills in September 1976.

See Larry Bodine, Ten Things You Don’t Know About Estate Planning, JDSupra, May 2, 2012.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.



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