If you’re thinking of putting some rather strange requests in your will, it is worth noting that a judge may be able to alter them if your heirs mount a legal challenge.
For example, a woman who was a hotel owner and a real estate investor left $5M for her heirs, who were grandsons, as her own son — their father — had passed away. She said in her will that they had to go to his grave and pay their respects annually to get the money.
That wasn’t even the controversial part of her will, though it does show just how controlling she wanted to be. She also had a pet dog, a Maltese. The grandsons may have been a bit happier with their $5 million each if not for the fact that a full $12 million went to the dog.
On top of that, the woman decided to give away around $35 million to charities of her choice.
The money that went to charity stood, as she’d given a lot of it away while she was alive. The money left to the dog did not. While a judge didn’t entirely strip the animal of its millionaire status, the court ruled and only $2 million could be left to the dog, leaving $10 million more for her human heirs.
While the dog still ended up with more money than many people will ever see at once, this was a huge alteration of the woman’s will. When drafting your will, carefully consider the ways it may be viewed in court. Be sure you understand all of the legal options you have in order to help it hold up.
Source: Forbes, “10 Strange Will And Testaments,” accessed June 15, 2017