Wills of the rich & famous
How much did Helmsley leave her dog? Find out that & other last wishes of the rich.
The details of a person’s will often provide insight into their true feelings about who they trusted and, in some instances, offer a way to settle a score. Find out who left millions to their pet, bequeathed money to an ex-lover and more in this list of fascinating and quirky wills of the rich and famous.
July 3, 1949 – Dec. 7, 2010
The will of attorney and health care activist Elizabeth Edwards (What was her cause of death?) omitted her famous estranged husband (why they split). Find out who she named executor of her estate just six days before her passing.
July 4, 1920 – August 20, 2007
Billionaire New York hotelier Leona Helmsley (What was her cause of death?) (see photos) famously left a staggering amount to a non-family member. (But, he didn’t get to keep all of it.) Living up to her nickname, some family members were left nothing. Helmsley also took care to ensure she and her beneficiary would be near each other even after death.
Jan. 19, 1943 – Oct. 4, 1970
Singing legend Janis Joplin (What was her cause of death?) wanted people to keep partying after she passed. Find out what she did. An Academy Award nominated actress has been tapped to play the raspy-voiced crooner in an upcoming film (watch classic Joplin).
August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009
Michael Jackson (What was his cause of death?), one of the most commercially successful entertainers of all time, cut someone out of his will. He left his three children (see photos) in the care of a family member. (Who is second in line to gain custody?) One very important detail was left out of Jackson’s will. (Watch a touching tribute from Jackson’s daughter.) His estate (how much it was worth) was placed into a family trust.
Anna Nicole Smith
Nov. 28, 1967 – Feb. 8, 2007
Former Playboy model and reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith (What was her cause of death ?) left her entire estate to her late son and named her then-boyfriend executor. The will didn’t mention Smith’s daughter, Dannielynn.The now nearly 4-year-old Dannielynn (see photos) is not entitled to a single penny from Smith’s husband, oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall (how much was at stake?), a court ruled last year.Murky language in the will lead to a battle over Smith’s final resting place, the true father of her child and who stood to inherit from her death.
July 1, 1961 – August 31, 1997
The last will and testament of England’s beloved Princess Diana (see photos), (What was her cause of death?) perplexed many by leaving a substantial sum to her butler.
She bequeathed nearly her entire estate (how much was it worth?) to her two sons, one of whom is recently engaged.
Hollywood bombshell Marilyn Monroe (What was her cause of death?) left a fellow actor her personal effects to be distributed among her friends. What did he do with the items instead?
A decision was handed down in 2008 that could cost her estate millions (find out why) after a battle over her residency determined Norma Jeane lived in New York at the time of her death.
John F. Kennedy
May 29, 1917 – Nov. 22, 1963
One of the United States’ most popular presidents, John F. Kennedy (assassination timeline), left his wife Jackie Kennedy a surprisingly small amount of cash (find out what she was bequeathed).
February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948
Baseball legend Babe Ruth (find out his real name) left a long list of his possessions to his wife, Clara May Ruth. “The Great Bambino” (how he died) left his wife and two daughters a modest sum compared to the amount he bequeathed his sister.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
July 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994
Former FLOTUS and style icon Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (What was her cause of death?) did not name any of her children as executors of her will. Who got the job?
Kennedy Onassis’ children, Caroline and John, were left with the bulk of her estate which included a New York City apartment and special instructions.
Dec. 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998
Though a surprising clause in Frank Sinatra’s will suggests tension among family members, Ol’ Blue Eyes (What was his cause of death was generous to his wife, Barbara, and also left cash to his ex-wife and their three children.
Feb. 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009
Former “Charlie’s Angels” star Farrah Fawcett (What was her cause of death?) shocked the public when it was revealed she left ex-boyfriend Gregory Lott a sum of money (find out how much) and completely cut out her long-time partner and the father of her child.