The Most Savage Will Stories Found on Reddit
If you think that scandalous, mean-spirited or downright bizarre final wills are only things you see in crazy movies, then think again. It turns out that real people who want to make a lasting impression with their final wishes die all the time!
Whether they leave behind a final sign-off to a long-running feud or a surprise ending with a little sass, humor or even some cruelty, some real-life individuals use their final testaments to send some legendary messages. We took to the Reddit community to see what people had to say about unbelievable inheritances and their aftermath. Take a look!
The Verbal Gift
Best diss ever was in a study book at my law school as an example of people talking s**t in their wills (you're supposed to discourage them, as lawyers, from doing so). "To my wife, I leave her lover and the knowledge that I was never the fool she thought me. To my son, I leave the pleasure of working for a living — for 25 years, he thought the pleasure was all mine."
A Matter of Time
The father had a valuable antique grandfather clock. He also had 2 daughters. His solution: If I die on an even day, daughter A gets the clock. On an odd day, daughter B gets it. The daughter who did not get the clock got an equivalent cash award based on the value of the clock. I knew about the bequest because I had to service the clock several times over the years.
Toys Not Just for Boys
We had a (legal) client who was a widowed farmer and owned [some] heavy equipment (Caterpillar trucks, etc). He had two sons who were already working with him at the farm and a daughter who was working in the city. He willed the heavy equipment to the daughter.
An Unfair Ending
My maternal grandpa was wealthy. He divorced my maternal grandma, remarried — and promptly dropped dead of a heart attack. He was only 48 and had no will, so everything went to his new wife, my mom's stepmother. She was actually really nice and was planning on making sure that everything was "fair" — until she died in a car accident six months later.
Not Such a Pretty Penny
My great-grandmother left her daughter "just one dollar and not a single penny more, so help me God." This was before I was born, but my grandmother — not the daughter who got the dollar — said that when they all read the will, her sister had a full-blown temper tantrum, and no one had heard from her since. I guess she had it coming.
In my trusts and estates class in law school, we read a case about a man who left everything to his wife with a condition. She had to have his body stuffed and leave it on the living room couch forever.
A Literal Death Wish
From my great uncle: "To my daughter Anne, who created my beautiful granddaughter Jane, and her dear fourth husband, John, who laid hands on my Jane, I leave one dollar, you money-grubbing scumbags. To Jane, I leave all of my monetary assets, save $5,000 and my best gun, which I leave to my son, Bill, on the condition that he beats John bloody during the time between my funeral and my burial. Jane, bail your uncle out of jail, please."
Sad State of Affairs
When my dad's mother died, her will stipulated that everything was to be liquidated and the money distributed equally between her children and grandchildren. Fine, but literally everything had to be sold. There were family heirlooms, jewelry, things my grandfather (a carpenter) had made — so many sentimental family things that my father and his siblings badly wanted, but it all had to be sold.
A Bad Cut
When I was a clerk in law school at the state court of appeals, the adult children of a rich woman tried to invalidate the will. Basically, the woman was worth about $8 million dollars, and all the children were working professionals earning six or seven figures.
Love thy Neighbor
My grandfather hated his neighbor. They lived next to each other for 20+ years. I remember well my grandfather raging at every opportunity about this guy. We never saw them speak to each other. In Grandpa's will, he left the guy $10,000, a car and golf clubs. We were dumbstruck.
A Butter Burn
An ancestor of mine in the rural U.K. in the 1700s died and left his farm and everything to his nephew (no children), with his surviving wife only getting "the second-best bed" and a provision to receive 3 pounds of butter per week for the rest of her life. We thought this was incredibly mean, but then we wondered whether the butter was meant as an income. I mean, who can eat 3 pounds of butter in a week?
Just last week, I handled a matter where the parents left millions in artwork to various people, wads of cash to various charities and only left their kids the family cats. It turned out they did it because their kids got them the cats to comfort them in their old age — and they freaking hated the cats, but the kids wouldn’t let them get rid of them.
Not a Will, Not a Way!
Before my great-grandma died, she made multiple wills and gave one to all her kids. Each will was basically written to shut her kids up and make it look like they got what they wanted or what they felt was fair. When she died, it was revealed she never actually made a will.
My sister’s mother-in-law is leaving her cottage to her three sons. If one wants to sell out his third of the house, he has to sell it to the other two brothers for $1. They can sell it if all three agree... Two of the sons live on lakes nearby. The third son lives with his mom in the house.
My grandma left a penny and a nasty comment to almost every person in the will — all of her sons and daughters, even a few grandchildren, except for me. I got $1,000.
A client had two sons. He left a whole bunch of specific distributions to one of the sons — his truck, gun collection, etc. To the other son, he specifically left one thing: a poster of himself in high school.
The Final Fee
Years ago, we were going through old family documents and found a will left by one of my great-great-(no idea how many)grandfathers. He apparently had a beef with one of his several sons. He named his oldest son as executor and laid out the inheritance to each of his kids. To the son he apparently disliked, he left $5. As if that wasn't bad enough, the will stipulated each inheritor pay the executor — the oldest son — a $10 service fee.
A Sweet Deal
My grandpa put a chocolate bar in his will for every one of his grandkids. Well, I have like 12 cousins, and it's very difficult to track down where a couple of them went. The estate and money he had in his will were at a standstill for months because they couldn’t find a couple of my cousins. We had to show the court we put in the effort to hire someone to track them down.
Here’s a Pen
My grandpa on my dad's side died when I was 10. My younger brother is four years younger than me and was adored by my grandpa. In his will, my brother got £13,000, and I got a pen — not a special pen, like a cheap Bic. So, there are a lot of hard feelings there.
A Forthright Father
I'm a funeral director, and a lot of times we work with wills. One day, two women stormed in, and they were furious. It turned out Dad had written both of them out of his inheritance and out of being informed of his death at all. All arrangements and executrix powers were left to the third daughter. It even included a clause that any arguments pertaining to the will could be handled by a specific pastor in a very specific "Christian manner."
Ashes to Ashes
Years ago, I worked in a retirement community. An older man we knew was gay developed a late-in-life relationship and moved into the community with his gay lover. He was a Korean War vet with multiple honors and a wall of medals. He was also a bit of an a*****e most days, but he had his moments. Over a meal, his stories were fantastic.
I had to write a will due to the health insurance I get at work, and along with all the sensible stuff, the in-house lawyer said it was totally okay for this clause to be added: "My funeral wishes are that I be buried in a coffin which has been spring-loaded, such that opening the coffin would cause alarm to future archaeologists."
The Mysterious Man Shed
When my grandfather passed, his will asked that I clean out his shed — alone. I found marijuana seeds, old reel-style film pornography (which was hilarious) and a bunch of other unsavory paraphernalia. There were '50’s flick knives too.
An Uncle's Comeuppance
My grandfather left my uncle three things from his rather valuable estate: $1 in unrolled pennies, a framed copy of the contract my uncle signed saying he owed my grandfather more than $100,000 (never repaid), a framed copy of the letter my uncle sent my grandfather saying he was disowning him for "being cheap." To the latter, my grandfather wrote "Accepted, a*****e" and signed his name.
My great aunt had about $2 million when she died. She left half to a small church in the middle of nowhere and the other half to a llama sanctuary. She left each of her family members about $25.
My grandmother had her boobs done when she was in her 60s. There’s nothing really wrong with that, but when she died, she wanted an open casket with her boobs on display. Really, Nanna? She passed away at 80 and got exactly what she asked for.
I read a lot of estate documents as part of my job. There is so much subtle shade in them. Occasionally, they can be pretty entertaining. One super wealthy lady had a huge section for the care and well-being of her pets, with primary and successor caretakers and a certain amount of money from the trust for the care and feeding of each pet.
My wife and I went to a lawyer to have our wills drafted. The lawyer told us of a client he had that had a great deal of money. His kids were fighting over it before he was dead. The man liked the monkey exhibit and the local zoo. He liked to just watch them all the time.
My vindictive grandmother left my aunt $20 as a reminder of the $20 my aunt stole from her once. Nice.
Ending on a Sweet Note
A woman came in after her mother's funeral with some correspondence from the company I work for (insurance). She was worried there was a bill she needed to pay and was coming to tell us her mom had died. She just looked SO tired, and we got to talking while I looked up the policy to close it out.