Famous Wills and Estates

Jimi Hendrix

Rock star Jimi Hendrix died 50 years ago in 1970 but is a perfect example of the importance of having a Will. The battle over his estate raged on for more than 30 years because he had no Will. What makes matters more complicated is that musicians often generate money through royalties after they’ve died.

William Shakespeare

The famous playwright’s Will is an interesting one and is even more fascinating because it’s signed 3 times. Most notably he left his wife his second-best bed, but according to the national archives, he left the bulk of his estate to his elder daughter, Susannah Hall and he left ¬£300 to his younger daughter, Judith.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Well renowned novelist Stevenson, famous for works including Treasure Island and Jekyll and Hyde sadly died of a stroke in December 1894.

One gift that the writer left was to a young girl who he befriended. As she was born on Christmas day, she remarked that she felt cheated out of a ‘real birthday’ so, on his death, RLS left Annie his own birthday (November 13th).

Harry Houdini

The escape artist’s death is a sad tale. He had a ruptured appendix and could have received medical attention but instead, decided to continue his show. The 4 blows he received to his midriff ultimately lead to his death and have been explained at the following link: https://www.thegreatharryhoudini.com/death.html.

His Will is an interesting one. As an escape artist and dare-devil, he had the foresight to plan ahead and to write his Will. In his Will, he also planned to be able to communicate from the afterlife, instructing his wife to conduct a seance every year on the anniversary of his death.

Dusty Springfield

The famous singer is a perfect example of how a Will can be used to make provision for our pets. In her Will, she wanted to ensure that her cat Nicholas would be provided for and kept in the life of luxury. As such she expressed her wish that he would be serenaded to sleep with Dusty’s hits on a stereo system (this was 1999)… She also instructed that his food be imported from the USA and she expressed her wish that Nicholas (the cat) marry the cat of the person she placed him in the care of.

Michael Jackson

It’s amazing to think that the king of pop died 11 years ago in 2009 7 years after he had written his Will. Whilst the legislation governing his Will differs somewhat from the law that we work to, there are some interesting and valuable lessons we can draw from it.

Michael had 3 minor children and he appointed his mother as the guardian of them. Guardianship is key to ensuring that people we trust will be able to look after our kids if something happened to us.

Another valuable lesson we can learn from MJ is that he had three Wills prior to this document all of which are revoked by the ‘Last Will and Testament’.

Arguably the most valuable lesson we can learn is that the singer used trusts to provide for the intended beneficiaries and these are important estate planning tools for maximising the inheritance we can leave as well as making sure that the sums or property within them are protected against misuse, abuse, or neglect.

George Michael

Another sad tale here. George Michael was found dead on Christmas Day in 2016 by his boyfriend. We now know the legacy that the Wham star left behind extends beyond his Will. Prior to his death George Michael was happy to give away huge chunks of his wealth to good causes, charities, and fans but much of this remained a secret until after his death and was recently reported in the Mirror. Gifting to charities that you support is a great way to leave a lasting legacy but also reaps benefits for those with Inheritance Tax issues.

George’s Will left a few surprises and again, a Mirror article tells all about who got what.


There are a few valuable lessons here about why estate planning is important, the scope of your Will works beyond just leaving money to family and how famous people have highlighted these lesson, sometimes unknowingly.

For information on your estate planning, speak to me and I’ll help you with affordable and transparent estate planning.

Here to help you protect, preserve and pass on your wealth.

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