5 Ingenious Wills Created Mostly For Revenge 0

A skeleton takes his revenge

Death! Suffering! Elaborate old-timey insults! Sure, you can make a will for nice, kind reasons. Support your family. Choose a home for your cat. Give to charities. But why do that, when you can settle some old scores? Stay tuned for five wills that served up a revenge as cold as the grave…

1) The legacy of bitterness

Wellington boots or wellington burts
Unverified sighting of Wellington Burt in the wild.

Michigan lumber tycoon and owner of a pun-worthy name, Wellington Burt died in 1919 with a hefty fortune under his belt (or should we say, tucked into his Wellington Burts?). A multimillionaire philanthropist in life, Burt was expected to make his family and his town very wealthy indeed upon his death.

But it wasn’t to be: reputedly smarting from a nasty family spat, Burt instead left the bulk of his fortune in a trust fund, not to be opened until 21 years after the death of his last grandchild. 

As the years went by, Burt’s six children, seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and 11 great-great grandchildren have all died without seeing a penny. Meanwhile, the trust fund has grown to an estimated $100m. Relatives who finally inherited in 2011 described it as a “legacy of bitterness,” having watched family members pass away still fruitlessly hoping to claim that fortune.

Heinrich Heine on his deathbed
Heinrich Heine reflecting on his choices.

2) The final regret

For 15 years, German essayist and poet Heinrich Heine had a very volatile relationship with his wife, Mathilde. But when he fell ill, she stayed at his bedside to the very end – and received a somewhat ambiguous reward.

Heine left Mathilde a legacy, alright, but only if she remarried. His reasoning? “Because then, at least one man will regret my death.” Ouch.

3) The father-in-law’s revenge

Son-in-laws: can’t live with them, can’t guilt someone into putting shelves up around the house without them. In 1908, Garvey P. White’s used his will to take a parting shot at his daughter’s unfortunate husband:

“Before anything else is to be done, 50 cents is to be given to my son-in-law to enable himself to buy a good strong rope with which to hang himself, and thus rid mankind of one of the most infamous scoundrels that ever roamed this broad land or lived outside a penitentiary.”

One has to wonder what the son-in-law did to deserve it.

Bath Abbey
Not pictured: vengeful bellringers.

4) The bells, the bells

Another disgruntled husband here: Colonel Charles Nash used his will to leave an annuity of $50 to the bellringers of Bath Abbey. 

But there were conditions: the bellringers had to clang out a mournful funerary toll on the anniversary of his marriage. They also had to ring the bells merrily on the anniversary of his death – celebrating his liberation from married life.

5) The deadly legacy

In the wrong hands, a will can be a dangerous thing. One Munich-based gentleman had a seemingly harmless stipulation in his will: the wake had to be held in an upstairs room of his house. 

But when family and friends arrived and gathered around the coffin, the entire floor came down – killing almost everyone present. It later turned out that the man had painstakingly sawed most of the way through the beams of his house. Perhaps he didn’t want to be seen dead in their company.

Beyond mascot takes n otes while sitting in a chair.Make your own vengeful will today

Have your own score to settle? You can make a will today on Beyond in just 15 minutes. It costs just £90, or £135 if you and your partner would like to plan your vengeance together. Start making your will today.

Don’t forget! Pay 20% more for your vengeful will using the offer code VENGEANCEISMINE at checkout – you big meanie.


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Do You Need a Will if You Are Married? 0

Do you need a will if you are married - man and woman holding hands

Do I need a will if I am married?

It’s a question we hear a lot. And, being in the will writing business, perhaps it’s unsurprising that our answer is almost always Yes, you do. We would say that, wouldn’t we?

But for most people, married or not, a will really is an essential step. Especially as time goes on and your family grows. 

So, what’s the deal with marriage and wills? What happens if you die without a will? Here’s what you need to know.


Do you need a will if you are married? 5 things to consider…


1) Without a will, your spouse might not inherit as much as you’d think

A lot of married people put off making their will because they think their partner will inherit their whole estate anyway. 

And don’t get us wrong: if you’re married and you die without a will, your spouse will reap some substantial benefits. You might want to remember that the next time you put off taking the bins out. But (contrary to popular belief) they won’t necessarily get everything – it all depends on your family and the size of your estate. 

So, your spouse may well get your whole estate. They may not. Either way, you should still make a will. Why?

If your spouse inherited your estate and then remarried, their new husband or wife would be entitled to all or most of their estate in turn.

2) Leaving your estate to your partner isn’t always the best idea…

However much you love your husband or wife (and we’re assuming it’s a lot – if not, step this way…) you still might not want them to inherit everything you own. 

For example, you may prefer to leave most of it to your children to make use of, or set some funds aside for your parents’ care as they get older. You might want to make sure a few family heirlooms go to your siblings, or leave personal gifts for your close friends. To do any of these things, you need a will.

One other thing to think about is remarriage. If your spouse inherited your whole estate and then remarried, their new husband or wife would be entitled to their estate in turn. In the end, this could cut your children off from inheriting anything at all.


3) Remember, a will is about more than just money

If you have children under the age of 18, a will is essential. Why? It’s the only way to have a say in who would look after your kids if you died.

With a will, you can name guardians: people you trust to raise your children with the same care and values as you. Without one, the local council or a family court will decide for you. They might even choose someone you and your kids don’t like – like the uncle who always brings up Brexit at the dinner table.

The same goes for pets. With a will, you can choose pet guardians to look after your furry (/ scaly / feathered) friends. Without one, your pets might be left homeless. Who will scratch Fluffy’s belly when you’re gone?


4) Inheritance tax is out there … waiting …

Anything you leave to your husband or your wife in your will can’t be taken in inheritance tax.

Inheritance tax (or IHT) isn’t due on every estate. But if it is due (and property owners need to watch out here) it is taken at a rate of 40% of everything. Ouch.

With a will, you can control what your partner inherits from you – and limit how much (if any) IHT is due. They’ll also get your unused allowance, letting them pass on up to £650,000 tax-free. Win-win.

When someone dies without a will, their family loses £9,700 on average in lost assets.

5) A will can save your family a lot of worry

We often underestimate how reassuring it can be to know that a loved one’s wishes have been followed. With a will, your family can be sure that they’re doing the right thing with your legacy. It can also prevent arguments: things can be settled fairly, averting a bitter feud over who-got-mum’s-engagement-ring.

The other thing to think about is how complicated your estate likely is. Have you told your family where all your pensions are kept? What about stocks, shares – all those other little assets you pick up over time? When someone dies without a will, their family misses out on an average of £9,700 in lost assets. You can prevent this.

And don’t forget, Beyond can help

It costs just £135 for you and your partner to each make wills on Beyond. And it takes just 15 minutes to get everything sorted. No lengthy visits to a solicitor’s office, no hassle: you can do it all from the comfort of your own home.

Make your will today!

Separated, but Still Married? It’s Time to Write Your Will 0

Wedding rings on a log

Recently separated? It’s time to make your will!

Not because your ex is lurking around the corner with a knife, waiting to knock you off (although, who knows?)

But there are very good reasons to write a new will now, and make your wishes official. Let’s take a look.


What does separating mean for your estate? 

Nothing. Not-a-thing. Zip. And that’s actually the issue.

If you died now, before your divorce, everything would be treated in the exact same way as if you were still happily married.

Have a will that leaves everything to your ex-partner? That’s still valid. They will still get that money (and your property, and your belongings). Even if you’ve already moved out and moved on. Whether or not they will make a bonfire of your things and dance around it naked is up to them.

Haven’t even made a will yet? Your spouse is still entitled to the lion’s share. If you don’t have children, they will get everything. If you do, they will still get up to £270,000 of your estate, half of what’s left over (if anything), and all your belongings. Including any beloved family heirlooms.

So, dying without making a new will now, can mean that all of your estate will go to your ex-partner. Even if the two of you are splitting up on the friendliest of terms, it’s not ideal – especially if you’ve met someone new.


Isn’t it a waste of time and money to make a will now (you ask)?

Not at all. It’s easy enough to make a simple will now on Beyond, and update it after the divorce comes through. And it costs just £90.

With Beyond, you can write your will online, print it off and get it signed in as little as 30 minutes. No hassle, no trip to the solicitor’s office required. 

After that, you can log back in and update your will anytime. Unlimited updates are free for the first year and £10 a year after that.


And, of course, there are other reasons to make a will…

Let’s face it: you knew you had to make a will some time. It’s the responsible thing to do. And, at the risk of sounding like your mum, there’s no better time than the present.

Remember, a will is the only way to:

  • Leave your money, property and belongings to the people you choose 
  • Protect your children, parents and new partner (if you’re there yet)
  • Leave presents for friends who have supported you
  • Avoid a (potentially nightmarish) inheritance tax bill
  • Prevent nasty family spats
  • Change the world for the better with a charitable gift


Ready to make your will? Step this way

At Beyond, it costs just £90 to make a will from the comfort of your own sofa. 

Every will is checked by our in-house experts, who are on hand to answer your questions every step of the way. And it takes less time than reheating a frozen pizza. You can even do both at the same time

So, why wait? Click here to make your will today.