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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE – STRANGE WILLS FROM FAMOUS PEOPLE

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By Lane V. Erickson, Pocatello Estate Planning Attorney

I decided that for this blog post I would make a list of some of the stranger and more interesting Wills that famous and infamous people have left. I hope you enjoy reading about some of these people and the strange things they have done with their estate planning.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe was described in Elton John’s song as a ‘candle in the wind’.  Her life and some of the drama between her and family members prompted her to write her family out of her will. Rather than leaving anything to her family, Marilyn’s will left all of her personal belongings to her acting coach, Lee Strasberg.  The directions to Strasberg was that he was supposed to distribute her personal belongings among her friends. However, Marilyn’s personal property was stored in Strasberg’s basement and remained there until he died. Afterwards, Strasberg’s widow auctioned off Marilyn’s property, earning millions of dollars for herself.

Ingrid Newkirk

While Ingrid Newkirk is not as famous or as well-known as other individuals on this list, she is nevertheless an interesting person. She is the founder of the foundation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals commonly known as PETA. Though their methods are often shocking, PETA has brought animal rights to the attention of the world. Newkirk has disclosed that when she dyes her will will instruct that her corpse be given over to PETA. Peta is then instructed that the meat of her body needs to be barbecued and eaten. She is also said that the skin on her body is to be extracted and made into leather purses. Additionally, she says that her eyes should be plucked out and delivered to government agencies for testing. Let’s hope this Ms. Newkirk lives for a long time!

Ray Fulk

As a hermit like Illinois farmer who lived alone on his property, Ray Fulk had been a farmer most of his life. Farming on property that he himself had inherited. It was unknown whether he had any living relatives and he had very few friends. When Mr. Fulk died it was discovered that he had a will that left his entire estate to a couple of unknown Hollywood actors who had been in daytime dramas or movies in the 70s and 80s. These two actors each took away more than a half a billion dollars from the estate of Mr. Fulk. It’s still unknown exactly why he left his estate to these two actors.

Thomas Shewbridge

It shouldn’t come as some surprise that with all the strange wills that are out there we would come across one that would leave a sizable Fortune to animals. One such incident occurred with a man named Thomas Shewbridge who lived in California. Mr. Shewbridge was a Prude rancher that also owned substantial investments that he had acquired during his lifetime. When he died, his will left all of his Investments to his two dogs. As a result they owned 29,000 shares of stock in an electric company. As a major shareholder of this electric company, the dogs were required to regularly at end the stockholders and board of directors meetings. However, it is unknown how actively involved the dogs were in making business decisions.

Sandra West

The final one we will end on in this blog is the Will of Sandra West. Ms. West used her will to do what many ancient civilizations used to do. That is, she left in her will that she was to be buried with several of her items of property that were valuable. In particular she loved her 1964 Ferrari 250 GT. In her will she stated that her brother-in-law would receive her multimillion-dollar estate so long as he buried her in this car. As a result, her brother-in-law put her corpse in the driver’s seat of the car which was then crated up and lowered into a massive hole in the ground.  It was then covered in a cement covering in order to satisfy local burial laws.

ENLIST AN ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY TO HELP YOU

When it comes to estate planning or probate you should never try to do it alone. If you have questions for yourself or for your family and loved ones, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at lve@racinelaw.net. We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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