$12 Million to the Dog: 7 Unusual Estate Plans to Inspire You

18 March 2015 lawreynold Articles

Estate Planning is not all paperwork and notaries. Creating your own legacy can be fun, entertaining and truly tell the story of YOU.


Here are 7 creative examples of  estate planning to inspire you:


 1. A Rose-a-day. Jack Benny was a class act.  In his Will, Jack left a large sum of money to a florist to send long-stemmed red rose every day to Jack’s wife, Mary Livingstone, for the rest of her life.  She was 47 years old and received over 3000 roses by the end of her life.

2. Once He Popped, He Couldn’t Stop. The chemist who invented freeze dried ice cream and specialized frying oils invented the Pringles can.  He liked his chips to be the same and stacked in order, not mixed up in a bag. In his Will, he asked for his cremains to be buried in a Pringles can, and in 2008, he was.


3. A New birthday. Robert Louis Stevenson gave his birthday away in his Will.  His friend mentioned that she didn’t much like her December 25 birthday and wished she could have his birthday instead.  So that’s what he left her in the following words:  Miss Ide should get all the “rights and privileges in the thirteenth day of November, now, herby, and henceforth, the birthday of said Annie H. Ide, to have, hold, exercise and enjoy the same in the customary manner, by the sporting of fine raiment, eating of rich meats and receipt of gifts, compliments, and copies of verse, according to the manner of our ancestors.”


4. Pirate Planning. Most Americans have NO estate plan at all, but all the pirates did!  They wore their entire estate plan on their ear – a gold earring.  If they died without gold, they would be “buried at sea.”  But the gold earring would be enough to buy them a “proper” burial.


5. Mermaid Planning. One of my dear friends, loves the ocean and is not a big fan of average elder care facilities, so her plan is to go on cruises toward the end of life.  The cost of endless cruising is the same as many elder care facilities in California!  The day will come when she can’t make it to the buffet any more, and that’s when she plans to quietly slip over the side to meet her dolphin friends for one final swim.  What does international law say about that?


6. $12 million to the dog. Leona Helmsley left $12,000,000 to her dog, a white maltese named “Trouble.”  Her children were left a mere pittance.  A judge later reduced the amount to a $2 million.  The dog should have hired a better attorney.


7. P.S. I love you. If you haven’t seen the movie “P.S. I love you,” it’s time!  What a great example of estate planning that lives on after you are gone.  I don’t want to spoil it, so you’ll just have to see it on Netflix.