“Lest you think that people who die are boring….think again,” says Dawn Markowitz in Trusts & Estates. Markowitz cites a few individuals who were “quite creative in their wishes and bequests, to say the least.”

  1. Aaron Collins of Kentucky died at age 30, leaving a will on his computer.  He directed his family to leave a $500 tip for a pizza server. Aaron’s brother started a Facebook page, asking for donations to help make Aaron’s dream come true. The post went viral, and the donations allowed the family to tip more than one hundred different waiters and waitresses $500 each.
  2. After 94-year old Jo Yorke passed away in Cornwall, England, her son used the estate proceeds to purchase a defibrillator for their small village, and to offer training to residents who want to learn how to use it.
  3. Software pioneer Ashawna Hailey was born a male but lived her life as a female. Ashawna made her fortune by designing the launch sequencer for the Sprint Antiballistic Missile System, and building the first Intel compatible processor. Ashawna’s will left $5 million to a non-profit research organization to develop marijuana for patients with unmet medical needs.
  4. Daniel Garr of California provided for a $50,000 gift to Project Purr, a volunteer feral cat advocacy organization. Meanwhile, 94-year-old Italian heiress Maria Assunta left her entire estate for her four-year-old black cat, Tomasso.
  5. Geoff Ostling is still alive in Australia, but he’s famous for pledging to donate his full bodysuit of tattoos to art.

Estate planning involves the development of a strategy for the preservation of property during life and the distribution of property after death. As is evident from the stories collected by Dawn Markowitz, estate planning is one of the most personal statements you can make.

“Many people believe they don’t need estate planning because they think they don’t have an estate. Or they think the value of their estate is not great enough to cause estate taxation,” writes Constance Fontaine in bankrate.com.

At Geyer & Associates, we know that life is filled with change, and that those changes may necessitate action.  We also realize that your estate plan represents a chance for you to make a very unique and personal statement, highlighting those things that you find precious and that you wish to preserve. 

– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer blog team