Isis Wills

Providing for loved ones

Charles Vance Millar's will was notorious for offering the bulk of his estate to the Toronto woman who had the greatest number of children in the ten years after his death (the Great Stork Derby). Attempts to invalidate it by his would-be heirs were unsuccessful, and the bulk of Millar's fortune eventually went to four women.

The Thellusson Will Case was fictionalized by Charles Dickens as Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in Bleak House, and led to Parliament legislating against such accumulation of money for later distribution.

The longest known legal will is that of Englishwoman Fredericka Stilwell-Cook. Probated in 1925, it was 1,066 pages, and had to be bound in 4 volumes; her estate was worth $100,000. The shortest known legal wills are that of Bimla Rishi of Delhi, India, and Karl Tausch of Hesse, Germany; each consisted solely of three words. More information available from Moneysupermarket.