The longest will on record

Estate planning is all about determining how a person’s assets will be preserved, managed, and distributed after their death or if they should become incapacitated at some point during their lifetime.

A will is generally the document that first comes to mind when people think about estate planning. A will lays out who you want to take over your assets after your death. It helps to ensure that those assets are distributed properly. In addition, if you have minor children, your will can state who you want to serve as guardian in the event of your death or if you should become incapacitated. 

A well-written last will and testament is generally at least four or five pages long. However, the last will and testament of Frederica Evelyn Stillwell Cook, who died on January 9, 1925 at the age of 68, is believed to be the longest will ever filed for probate.

The will in question was 1066 pages, contained a total of 95,940 words, and occupied four gilt-edged leather-bound volumes. 

What did Frederica include in her will?

Frederica’s will was entered into probate at Somerset House which was, at the time, the home of the Principal Probate Registry in London. It concerned approximately $100,000 worth of assets and property.

Her bequests were almost all to her three children. Excluding the pages containing the introductory clauses to her will, the rest of the 1066 pages contained a priced inventory of such things as:

  • Laces
  • Jewelry
  • Furs
  • Embroideries
  • Dressing bags 
  • Objects of art

The will was dated October 17, 1919, with a codicil dated March 2, 1924, and it was mostly written in Frederica’s hand. Probate was granted to Cook’s brother and one of her sons, and she directed her two executors to burn her diaries. In addition, Cook left directions to her executors concerning how to bury her.

Is your will much, much shorter?

How does your will compare to the longest will ever? Hopefully, it will not total 1066 pages!

However, to protect your assets and your final wishes, take care of your loved ones, and prevent any disputes after your death, discover what to include in your will.

While a will is an essential part of any estate plan, there are additional tools that help fully achieve your estate planning goals, including trusts, Power of Attorney, Healthcare directives, and beneficiary designations.

Most estate plans are created with the help of an attorney who is experienced in estate planning. At the Law Office of David W. Foley, our attorneys can answer all of your California estate planning questions such as: what types of trusts there are, naming executors, and do you need a Pour-Over will, just to name a few.