SPECIAL HUMOR ISSUE || The Last Laugh: Wills with a Sense of Humor

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  • The Last Laugh: Wills with a Sense of HumorAuthor(s): Herman OberweissSource: Family Advocate, Vol. 4, No. 1, SPECIAL HUMOR ISSUE (Summer 1981), pp. 60-62Published by: American Bar AssociationStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25804268 .Accessed: 25/06/2014 03:36

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  • The Last Laugh Wills with a Sense of Humor

    c^&^S^m***.**. "You just can't talk to that bunch. They all avoided probate."

    The last will and testament, a means of guidance in the

    disposition of property, is not usually a place for humor. But, some people build up thoughts or com

    plaints that they are unable to express to friends and

    family during their lifetime. The will offers a chance to have the last word, and, sometimes, to get the last

    laugh. The will of one bitter testator included the following

    final message to his son: To my dear son_, who has been so much

    help to me because of his past conduct, I hearby give and bequeath one envelope full of cancelled checks, notes and fines incurred by him and paid by me, and

    clippings from newspapers, and no other part, share or interest in my estate whatever. He will understand this.

    UNHAPPY MARRIAGES The following extracts come from To Will Or Not To

    Will, by Joseph E. Bright, published by Dennis & Co., Inc., Buffalo, New York.

    A captain of finance wrote: To my wife I leave her lover, and the knowledge that I wasn't the fool she thought I was.

    To my son, I leave the pleasure of earning a living. For twenty-five years he thought the pleasure was mine. He was mistaken.

    To my daughter, I leave $100,000. She will need it. The only good piece of business her husband ever did was to marry her.

    To my valet, I leave the clothes he has been stealing from me regularly for ten years, also the fur coat he wore last winter while I was in Palm Beach.

    To my chauffeur, I leave my cars. He almost ruined

    them, and I want him to have the satisfaction of

    finishing the job. To my partner, I leave the suggestion that he take

    some other clever man in with him at once if he ex

    pects to do any business.

    The Earl of Stafford, one of the ardent followers of

    60

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  • James II, by his will, gave a permanent testimonial of his unhappy marriage:

    To the worst of women, Claude Charlott de Gram

    mont, unfortunately my wife, guilty as she is of all

    crimes, I leave five-and-forty brass half pence, which will buy a pullet for her supper. A better gift than her father can make for her; for I have known when, hav

    ing not the money, neither had he the credit for such a

    purchase, he being the worst of men, and his wife the worst of women, in all debaucheries. Had I known their characters, I had never married their daughter, and made myself unhappy.

    A merchant recognizing the uncertainties of life, gave the following directions to his lawyer:

    Make my will so my overdraft at the bank goes to my wife?she can explain it. My equity in my car to my son?he will have* to go to work to keep up the pay

    ments. Give my good will to the supply house?they took some awful chances on me and are entitled to

    something. My equipment you can give to the junk

    man?he has had his eye on it for several years. I want six of my creditors for pall bearers?they have carried me so long they might as well finish the job.

    A HOMEMADE WILL The following is a will written by Herman Oberweissy

    as offered for probate at the June, 1934, term, County Court of Anderson County, Texas. It is reprinted from The Judicial Humorist, by William L. Prosser, pub lished by Little Brown and Company, Boston, Massa chusetts.

    I am writing of my will mineself that des lawyir want

    he should have to much money he ask to many answers about the family. First think i dont want my brother Oscar to get a god dam thing i got he is a mumser and he done me out of four dollars fourteen

    years since. I want it that Hilda my sister she get the north sixtie

    akers of at where i am homing at now i bet she dont

    get that loafer husband of hers to brake twenty akers next plowing. She cant have it if she lets Oscar live on

    61

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  • Who Speaks

    for You ? Domestic relations work has never been more challenging than it is today.

    The family lawyer is the spokesman for the juvenile, the handicapped, and the

    elderly, as well as the wife and mother or

    the father and husband. But who represents you when issues need

    to be raised or information must be up dated?

    Look to the Family Law Section for an swers to the problems you face as a practi tioner. The Section provides its members

    with two major publications ?

    Family Ad vocate and Family Law Quarterly. It offers

    top quality CLE programs geared to meet

    your needs. But as the fastest growing section in the

    American Bar Association, the Family Law Section offers even more. It brings together practitioners, professors and judges from across the country to share common in

    terests, common goals and common sense. So when you join the Family Law Section,

    you receive more than a wealth of informa tion. You receive a national voice that

    speaks for you.

    APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP

    Application of_

    Add ress_

    City _ State_Zip_

    For enrollment in the Section of Family Law, American Bar Association, 1155 E. 60th Street,

    Chicago, IL 60637. Membership in the American Bar Association is a prerequisite for section membership.

    Enclosed is my check, payable to the American Bar Association, for $25.00 for annual membership dues in

    the Section of Family Law.

    Date_Signature _

    Mail coupon with your check to:

    American Bar Association

    Order Billing Department 513 1155 E.60th Street Chicago, IL 60637

    it i want i should have it back if she does. Tell mama that six hundret dollars she has been

    looking for ten years is berried from the bakhouse behind about ten feet down. She better let little Fredrick do the digging and count it when he comes

    up.

    Pastor Ticknitis can have three hundret if he kisses the book he wont preach no more dumhead talks about politics. He should a roof put on the meeting house with and the elders should the bills look at.

    Mama should the rest get but i want it so that

    Adolph should tell her what not she should do so no more slick irishers sell her vaken cleaner they noise like hell and a broom dont cost so much.

    I want it that mine brother Adolph be my executer and i want it that the judge should please make

    Adolph plenty bond put up and watch him like hell.

    Adolph is a good bisness man but only a dumpph would trust him with a busted pfennig.

    I want dam sure the schlaimial Oscar dont nothing get. Tell Adolph he can have a hundret dollars if he

    prove judge Oscar dont nothing get that dam sure fix Oscar.

    (Signed) Herman Oberweiss

    ANIMALS LEFT BEHIND In an older will, written in 1804, the testator be

    queathed parts of cows and sheep to his heirs. For ex

    ample, he left his daughter two-thirds of a cow and four

    sheep. One woman wanted to ensure that her pets were well taken care of when she was gone. Her will included:

    I give and bequeath the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars

    ($10,000.00) to the Trustees hereinafter named and direct that the same be placed in some savings bank and the income if necessary, the corpus, to be used for the care of any pets of which I may be possessed at the time of my death and upon the death of my pets they are to be embalmed and their caskets to be placed in a Wilbert Vault at Pine Ridge Cemetery . . .

    A Taunton, Massachusetts man, who died in 1971, left behind him a request to help the needy inhabitants of the island of Pico, Azores. His will instructed the ex ecutor to make sure that about $35,000 of the estate was used to buy one loaf of bread weekly for each person living in two villages on the island.

    One wordsmith chose to dispose of his estate in

    poetry, according to Marshall Brown, Wit and Humor

    of Bench and Bar, published by T.H. Flood & Co., Chicago, Illinois. He notes this rhymed will:

    As to all my wordly goods, now or to be in store, I give them to my beloved wife, and hers for ever

    more.

    I give all freely; I no limit fix; This is my will, and she's executrix.

    But, Bright sums it all up with the following from To Will Or Not To Will:

    A French lawyer left $10,000 to a local madhouse, declaring that it was simply an act of restitution to his clients.

    62

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    Article Contentsp. 60p. 61p. 62

    Issue Table of ContentsFamily Advocate, Vol. 4, No. 1, SPECIAL HUMOR ISSUE (Summer 1981), pp. 1-64Front MatterA Time to Laugh [pp. 1-1]It's Not Easy To Be a Lawyer: In Fact, Some Practitioners Should Get Combat Pay [pp. 2-4]Rhymes for the BarA Turn of the Century Tale About: Breaking Up and Making Up [pp. 6-9]Life, Liberty, and the Flight from Aggravation: Four Poems [pp. 10-12]

    Songs for the BarI'm a Marriage Counselor of Renown (OR YUM YUM AND NANKI-POO SPLIT UP) [pp. 14-15]I'm the Tops, Esq. [pp. 16-16]

    The Case for Eating Less Cottage Cheese &More Ice Cream [pp. 18-19]Just Unmarried: Crazy Cases about Annulments [pp. 20-23, 58]The Funny Side of Family Life and LawJokes, Jabs, Jests and Jive [pp. 24-27]A New Lease on Love: Today's Young Lovers May Still Wine and Dine, But First They Sign [pp. 28-29, 53]Laughing with Landers: Columnist Ann Landers Shares Three of the Wildest Letters She Ever Received [pp. 30-31]The Bifurcated Divorce Game: A Game for Adults [pp. 32-33]Parting Shots: A Collection of Unusual Divorce Decrees [pp. 34-36]Soap for the Bar: A Day in the Life of the Legal AssistantAs the Law Office Turns [pp. 37-41]

    The Dissolution (or Disillusion) Crossword Puzzle [pp. 42-43, 59]The Cost of Loving Index [pp. 44-45]Bloopers in the Courtroom [pp. 46-48, 59]Inlaws as Outlaws [pp. 49-49]The Judgment of Solomon Rehashed: An Imaginative Look at Old Testament Family Law [pp. 50-52]The Family Lawyer's Horrorscope [pp. 54-57]The Last Laugh: Wills with a Sense of Humor [pp. 60-62]FAMILY LAW NEWSLETTER [pp. 63-64]Back Matter

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