Famous and Bizarre Last Wills and Testaments Introduction

About the history of last wills and testaments, information about death and property rights.

Where There's a Will (There's an Insight into the Deceased)

In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.

Isa. 38:1

There is no legal obligation to make a will. It is perfectly acceptable to die "intestate," i.e., without leaving a will. The law, in all States, provides for equitable distribution of one's property to the heirs, if any. In some cases, if no heirs can be found, the estate will be gathered into the public coffers for the benefit of all.

The purpose of a will, however, is to allow the deceased to express one final wish for the disposition of his worldly goods. The right is available for anyone with the desire to make the legal declaration. Normally, the intent is written, valid when attested to by a certain number of witnesses. But it can be oral as well, so long as the spoken words represent the true desires of the individual involved, free of the elements of fraud, undue influence, or coercion.

The practice of leaving a will has been in use since people 1st began to acquire property. The following are some of the more interesting bequests, the last testaments made by personalities of the past.

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