The importance of wills or pre-planning for funerals can not be

Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Santa Monica Boulevard

overstated. Arizona Affordable Funeral Home & Crematory is available to assist with most of your arrangement needs. For some individuals, however, mere funeral arrangements are insufficient. For these folks funerals, the reading of wills, and final arrangements are epic events that will be talked about for years.

Consider Harry Houdini, the legendary daredevil, illusionist, escape artist, and magician. In the years before his death, he had become increasingly fascinated by spirituality, mediums, and the concept of the after life from the practices of the ancient Egyptians to Christianity. Fittingly he died in 1926 on Halloween. Confirming a promise made to his wife Bess, his last will and testament stated that a seance would be held each year on the anniversary of his death. If possible he would contact his wife from the after life and use a pre-arranged ten digit secret message. 

Charles Vance Miller, an attorney in Toronto, was an avid practical joker. Death did not end his passion for pulling a fast one. The reading of his last will and testament in 1926 stunned family and friends; his estate was bequeathed to the Toronto woman who could produce the most children in the next ten years. It was an event that a newspaper editor dubbed the “Great Stork Derby.” A decade later, four women tied with each producing nine children; each received about $125,000.

Thomas Shewbridge was well known in the Central Valley of California. His farm was one of the largest producers of prunes in the state. He was also the largest shareholder in the electric company. His last will and testament was contested in court, but in the end it was upheld. And so his two dogs were given control of the farm, and received 29,000 shares of stock in the electric company. As majority shareholders the dogs were required to attend board of director meetings.

Mark Gruenwald was the Executive Editor of Captain American and Iron Man, and was a principle in the development of Marvel Comics. In his last will and testament, he requested that his ashes be mixed with the ink used to print comic books. His wishes were upheld.

Jeremy Bentham, a late 18th century and early 19th century social philosopher made final arrangements in his will that ensured he would not be forgotten for years to come. He is still with us. Since his death in 1832, his preserved and clothed body, with wax head, has been preserved in an oak and glass cabinet known at the time as Auto-Icon. The oddity of his final requests doesn’t end there. Housed at the University College London, Bentham’s cabinet is moved to the conference room so he can attend special meetings.

A will and final arrangements can alleviate many concerns for your family, and ensure your last wishes are met. As an interesting factoid, a recent study discovered that nearly half of the adults in this country does not have a will. Contact us today for advice and assistance with your final planning arrangements.

Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America



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