When we think of inheritances, grand estates, valuable jewelry, and vast sums of money often come to mind.
But history has shown that not all legacies come in grand packages. In fact, some of the most intriguing bequests have been the smallest, often reflecting humor, affection, or sometimes even spite. Here are the five of the smallest inheritances ever recorded from a will:
The Single Penny Legacy
In 1915, a Scottish gentleman named John Knott bequeathed the meager amount of a single penny to his nephew, suggesting that he use it to buy a razor. Whether this was a jest about his nephew’s unkempt appearance or a testament to Knott’s sense of humor, it remains one of the most peculiarly miniscule inheritances in history.
The Lone Cat Inheritance
Cats and inheritances have often intermingled in surprising ways. However, in 1947, a Mrs. Eleanor Ritchey from Florida left behind a will that had everyone talking. Instead of bequeathing her sizeable estate to relatives or charities, Mrs. Ritchey left the bulk of her wealth to ensure the welfare of her 150 stray dogs. However, she left one of her relatives an inheritance of just a single cat, with no explanation as to why.
The Half a Bedroom Legacy
Englishman Harry Jenkins passed away in 1965, and his will had one of the most peculiar specifications. Jenkins left half of his bedroom to his wife. The other half, including half the bed and half the bedroom furniture, was left to his mistress. This created an odd situation and forced the two women to negotiate. This inheritance serves as a testament to the complexity and intricacies of human relationships.
The 12 Cents Inheritance
In 1931, New Yorker Samuel Bratt passed away, leaving his wife with an inheritance of exactly 12 cents. This was not out of poverty but rather spite. Bratt’s wife had always objected to his smoking cigars, and as a final act of posthumous rebellion, Bratt willed her the amount he used to spend on a single cigar.
The “Spite Wall” Legacy
While this may not be the smallest in terms of physical size, it certainly is in spirit. In the 19th century, John Hollensbury’s home in Alexandria, Virginia, was often disturbed by the noise and traffic of the alleyway adjacent to it. When he passed away, his will included a provision for a two-foot wide, seven-foot high wall to be built just to block the alley. This “Spite Wall” remains a part of Alexandria’s Old Town historic district to this day.
In conclusion, while large inheritances might create a fleeting sense of astonishment, it’s these unusual and minute bequests that leave an indelible mark on our memories. Have someone you’d like to leave exactly one-half of your bedroom to? Get started with GetDynasty for a free and simple way to make a point.