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.
When asked why he would do that with equipment that was essential to the farm, he said that the farm was to be owned equally by his kids, but his girl needed to know he always wanted her to join their venture and dispel her notions of alienation because she was a girl.
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.
She was a widow herself prior to marrying my grandpa, and she left behind an orphaned 15-year-old son from the previous marriage who got everything. My mom and her siblings had to go to the auction at their childhood home and buy back as many of their heirlooms and memories as they could afford (and, truthfully, stole some of what they couldn't).
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.
Luckily for her, the court invalidated that part of the husband's will. Part of the reasoning was that it would make it impossible for her to date/remarry if she had her husband's creepy dead body glaring at anyone who came to see her. You think?
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."
In case anyone wondered, yes, Bill got his $5,000. He didn't get arrested, though, because John had a warrant on him, so they didn't dare call the cops.
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.
They all went to the auction to try to buy some of the more sentimental items, but they weren't always successful. It was heartbreaking, and I'm not sure what made my grandmother think it would be a good idea. Nobody wanted the money. They wanted her wedding ring and the clocks my grandfather had made and all that.
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.
The woman had used the same hairdresser for multiple years, and she left a considerable amount in a trust for the hairdresser's children's education. The remainder of the estate was given to different charities. Basically, the kids were mad they didn't get a cut.
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.
It turned out they were good buddies from the Army. When they coincidently bought homes next to each other, they decided to play a long scam with both their families. They actually played golf together two to three times per week and had a monthly poker game for years.
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.
So, everyone just stupidly stood there yelling at each other about who had the most recent copy, claiming that should be the actual will. Bottom line: They all just had worthless pieces of paper. It ended in yelling, stealing, lying and fighting.
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.
He does take on a lot of the care responsibilities for his mom — she is 93 — so that’s nice. The other two brothers have done most of the home maintenance for decades, including weekly mowing and cleaning, and they still help with her care.
When she dies, which unfortunately could be very soon, the third son might not move out. He could freeload in that house forever, and his brothers would have to share in the tax payments and upkeep if they want to maintain their inheritance.
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.
No idea if there was some significance/sentimental value behind the poster, or if it was more of a "look at what I'm giving your brother, and here's a poster of me so you will never forget that I loved you less."
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.
The lawyer who was helping execute the will was blown away that his lawyer allowed this and didn’t highly suggest that he not do it. But I’m not complaining — I got a Toblerone out of the deal!
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.
Over three years, his children never once visited him. He had a heart attack and knew he was going to die. His children showed up but demanded his lover leave for their visits. In his will, he left everything to his lover and his lover's one child from a former marriage. He wrote a long note about his kids’ hypocrisy, not visiting and their attitudes toward his lover.
He left each of his two kids a pail of coal ash, to be deducted from his estate. He had his estate pay for his lover's plot to be placed next to him and his wife. In his long letter, he said that his kids, if they visited him in his death, would be reminded they didn't visit when he was alive.
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."
Then I added a bunch of stuff about how if this was too costly, I should be cremated and have my ashes scattered in a specific place.
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.
I was only a kid, but I understood and laughed at it when I heard my uncle cursing my grandfather to the attorney. I still laugh today, and my grandfather was right. He is an a*****e.
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.
She had no children of her own, and to be honest, most of the family was pretty entitled and making plans for how they would spend her money when she died. It was her final "f-you" to the people spending her money before she was even gone. I was about 9 at the time and was thrilled with the $25 I got.
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.
Grandad ended up sticking two strategically placed daisies on her boobs. So, she got what she wanted, and so did Grandad. RIP, Granny, you silly b***h. Love you.
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.
In that same will and trust, she also left a slew of people only $1, so there would be no chance they could take the trust to probate court on the basis that they were merely forgotten. That part had SO MUCH SUBTLE SHADE: "They know what they did," "They are well aware of their guilt in the matter," etc.
Then, she split up about $2 million among five or six different animal rescues and animal welfare charities. It was around 200 pages long, and I swear I read the entire thing just for the sheer entertainment value.
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.
When he died, the lawyer had to tell his family he willed all of his money and estate to the zoo for the monkey exhibits. He now has a bench dedicated in his honor at one of the local zoos. He said they were livid and tried to fight. Lesson: Don't be petty and greedy. Love your family unconditionally.
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.
She shared that in the last few years her mom had slipped into dementia, and she single handedly took care of her. She missed her, but she was run ragged and hadn't taken a vacation in forever. I realized what she had was not a health policy; it was a life insurance policy naming the daughter as the beneficiary for about $50,000.
I told her, and she just started crying. It made me cry, and I got up and hugged her and sort of just held her while she cried. She pulled away and said, "I have no idea what she left that for. Everything's been paid for." I said, "This might be her telling you to go on that vacation and relax." It was so touching, and she had no idea that the policy existed.