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How "out of the box" can I be when writing my will?

wills Oct 16, 2019

While many people don't have a Will in Canada (51% according a 2016 Angus Reid Institute poll), some of us can't help but leave little creative twists in the ones we do make. There are a range of example, take for instance Roger Brown; in his Will he bequeathed 3500 pounds be left to his seven friends so long as they use it to fund a "boozy trip" to Europe. 

Or perhaps some prefer the sweeter bequest by Jack Benny,  a US comedian, who left instructions that one long-stemmed rose be delivered everyday to his widow’s home.

There is also the very public-spirited bequeath left anonymously in 1928 which stipulated that half a million pounds, now worth roughly 350 million pounds, be used to clear the national debt. However, the money can only be used once it is enough to clear the whole of the national debt in Britain, and so the money sits untouched to this day as the debt grows to above 1 trillion pounds. 

In another example, Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral de Camara, a Portuguese aristocrat choose to leave his estate to 70 strangers, chosen at random from a phone book!

All of these examples demonstrate creative bequests left in Wills, and while these ones went through as desired by the deceased that is not always the case. Creative, or "out of the box" writing is cautioned against in the favour of taking the writing of your Will seriously, lest it be invalidated, leaving your estate to a previous Will, or to the preset formula of the State.  If you insist on adding creative requests in your Will, it would be wise to seek legal counsel first, to ensure the clause will not invalidate the Will. 

If you or a loved one is looking for help in drafting a Will, creative clauses or not, please don't hesitate to contact our lawyers at Estate Connection. They have years of experience in Estate Planning and are here to help.



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