Life and death are often identified as two opposite planes, but death is very much a part of life.
As humans, we tend to steer clear of conversations that provoke uncomfortable emotions. But whether we shy away from those discussions or not, one thing we all have in common is that death is a thing none of us can avoid: there are no cheat codes, comebacks, revivals, or retaliations.
Here at myFRP, we believe in seizing the day and living life to the absolute fullest, but we understand this can be tricky to do when we don’t know what’s waiting around the corner for us. Writing a will helps us own up to the inevitable and grants us the opportunity to clarify our final wishes.
That may seem like a pretty daunting task, but actually, it’s just like becoming a fairy godmother; granting your wishes and sprinkling kindness and care, love and tenderness upon your nearest and dearest when they’ll be sad and suffering.
We’re not trying to garnish the truth here: drafting a will comes with a whole bunch of responsibilities, from making sure the people we love most are provided for, to protecting your assets and legacy. While these things are extremely important, that doesn’t mean you can't inject a little fun into your magical wishes, whether that’s doing something ridiculously romantic, being wonderfully witty, or causing some kind of casual chaos.
This is your chance to leave your loved ones a final touching gesture, yet for some creating a little mischief from beyond the grave can be just too tempting to resist.
So, we got digging around – excuse the pun – for the 10 most wildly whacky and wondrous last requests ever.
Every dog has its day
It’s true: dogs really are a man’s best friend.
So much so, that in 2007 a white Maltese called Trouble inherited a $12million fortune from her human, Leona Helmsley – more than anyone else listed in her will! Two grandchildren were left with absolutely nothing and two others received a healthy $5million.
A judge cut back Trouble's inheritance to a humble $2million, yet she still lived out her golden years with a full-time security team to protect her from kidnappers and assassins. She now rests peacefully next to Ms. Helmsley.
I’ll party when I’m dead
It’s certainly the norm to have your chums raise a glass in celebration of you once you’ve made your final exit.
Nevertheless, the bar was raised in 2013, when Roger Brown lost his fight to prostate cancer. Mr. Brown left a secret £3,500 to a gang of his closest buddies along with clear instructions that they used it for a booze-fuelled weekend away.
Naturally, his wishes were fulfilled, and his friends jetted off to Berlin whereby “we spent most of it on beer, the rest we wasted”, said recipient and friend Roger Rees.
Now, if that's not a way to say farewell to your party pals, we don’t know what is.
Once you pop, the fun don’t stop
You might not know his name, but you undoubtedly know his work.
Chemist Fred Baur designed the iconic Pringles packaging along with the stacking method of the beloved potato snack.
Needless to say, he was so proud of his work that when he passed in 2008, his final wish was to be cremated and buried in a Pringles tube. His son Larry commented, “my siblings and I briefly debated what flavour to use but I said ‘look, we need to use the original’”, and quite rightly so Mr. Baur.
Roses are red, violets are blue, even when I’m gone, I’ll still flirt with you
When comedian Jack Benny died in 1974, he went to extreme measures to let his wife know how much he loved her. Upon his demise, he left instructions in his will that his widow would be gifted with one long-stemmed red rose every day for the rest of her life.
So, it’s confirmed: romance isn’t dead (but Mr. Benny is putting us all to shame).
Don’t talk to strangers
...and you may just get their inheritance.
Portuguese aristocrat Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara flicked through a phone directory when it came to writing his final will. He scanned the pages and randomly picked 70 strangers to leave his fortune to!
Helena, a 70-year-old beneficiary quipped, “I thought it was some kind of cruel joke, I’d never heard of the man”. We hear you, Helena. We’d be looking for a camera crew too!
An emotional roller-ghoster
If he pulled this off, it would have been his best trick yet!
Legendary illusionist Harry Houdini requested that his wife, Bess conducted a séance each year on the anniversary of his passing, (which aptly falls on Halloween). He left her a secret code, “Rosabelle, answer, tell, pray, answer, look, tell, answer, answer, tell”, that he would relay back so she’d know it was definitely him communicating from the great beyond.
After 10 years of attempting to contact her husband on the other side, Bess gave up. Still, each year many fans from his cult following continue to conduct the séance hoping Houdini will show and perform for them one more time.
To boldly go where no man has gone before
Star Trek megamind, Gene Roddenberry not only coined the fabled term but implemented it into his final wishes.
Six years after his demise, and upon his request, Roddenberry completed his final mission when his ashes were launched into outer space via a memorial spacecraft.
Unfortunately, in 2002 the flight fell back into the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated. Despite the failure, another flight is planned to carry more of Roddenberry’s remains into space along with those of his wife.
Beam me up, Scotty!
The cat that got the cream
When British superstar and animal-rights activist Dusty Springfield left us in 1999, she wanted to make sure her feline friend, Nicholas would carry on living in a world that he was used to.
For fury Nick, that meant his strict baby food diet was imported from America to his English residence! The residence we speak of was as Dusty called for: a 7-foot indoor treehouse embellished with catnip and scratch pads, his bed dressed in Ms. Springfield’s pillowcase and the nightgown she wore when she passed, and each night he would drift off to the sweet, sweet sound of his human's greatest hits.
On top of all that grandeur and glamour, Nicholas was to be ‘married’ to his new guardian's female feline.
Is it possible to be jealous of a cat? (Asking for a friend).
When selfless self-made businessman Keith Owen learnt he had just a few weeks to live, he donated his entire £2.3milllion wealth to the Sid Vale association. The conditions state that a portion of the money is to be used to plant one million blossoming bulbs in his favoured holiday destination of Sidmouth, Devon, leaving the seaside town flooded with colour.
The interest on Mr. Owen’s capital, which is estimated to be a flush £125,000 a year, is to be utilised in maintaining the town and its two neighbouring villages.
Sadly, the town has not yet planted a million bulbs, as this could take a few years – there’s no rose without a thorn!
The bitter ex
Sometimes things are better left unsaid, but Heinrich Heine just had to have the last word.
Insulting your spouse from beyond the grave is not the most common final farewell, yet when the German poet passed in 1856, he left his entire estate to his wife, along with the provision that she remarried so that “there will be at least one man to regret my death”.
After that insult, you wouldn’t have to ask us twice!
We appreciate that some of these requests are amusing and may inspire some comedic wishes of your own, however, we do advise checking with a solicitor that any entertaining farewell offerings don't invalidate your will altogether!
You can also take advantage of the non-legally binding letter of wishes, which will prevent the serious and the silly from getting mixed up.
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