Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Those famous wills

In the history of humankind, wills have a special place mainly because of their peculiarities. Some wills are famous for their length. Nelson Rockefeller's will was 64 pages long. Some wills are famously short. Bimla Rishi’s will, of Dehli, India was only three words long: “all to son.”

Other wills are famous because of what or how people inherit their property as in the case of Napoleon Bonaparte, who left his articles of personal hygiene to his family. Last year, Leona Helmsley left 12 million dollars to her dogs but nothing to her grandchildren. Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da C├ómara was a Portuguese noble who in 1988, in the presence of a notary, grabbed the Lisboa’s telephone directory and gave away his fortune to 70 people he called randomly.

One of the oldest wills was found in an Egyptian tomb and was written around the year 17 B.C. In this will, a man named Uah, divided his property among his family and slaves and asked to be buried with his wife. Romans were the first ones writing wills as legal documents, but it was not until the Middle Ages that wills gained relevance.

According to Consumer Reports, 66% of Americans don’t have a will. If after reading this blog entry you want to start to write one, here are some books that might help you with that:

AARP crash course in estate planning : the essential guide to wills, trusts, and your personal legacy

The handbook to wills, funerals, and probate : how to protect yourself and your survivors

Why wills won't work (if you want to protect your assets) : safeguard your estate for the ones you really love

Nolo's simple will book

Understanding your living will : what you need to know before a medical emergency

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