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The Humorous Last Wishes of Charles Millar

How far will someone go to reap the benefits of goods, property and money left behind in a will? Take into consideration the last wishes of Canadian lawyer and financier Charles Millar, who died in 1928, and went out of his way to push the limits of people after his passing. Known for his pranks and practical jokes, he incorporated a great deal of them throughout his will.

In life, he liked to prank people by speaking to the greed of his victims. For example, Millar liked to leave money in open spaces and watch from afar as people pocketed the cash.  One part of his will read: “This Will is necessarily uncommon and capricious because I have no dependents or near relations and no duty rests upon me to leave any property at my death and what I do leave is proof of my folly in gathering and retaining more than I required in my lifetime.”

Millar left lucrative shares in a racetrack to a judge and preacher that were extremely against the practice of gambling. If the men accepted the gift, they would become automatic members of a horse racing club. Neither denied the proposition.

Millar followed up with offering a group of outspoken Protestant ministers opposed to drinking a hefty amount of shares in a brewery.  The business was O’Keefe Brewery stock (which was a Catholic business).  All of the men except for one accepted the gift.

Millar willed his vacation home in Jamaica to three acquaintances who had a hard time getting along with one another under the same roof. Out of spite, they managed to share the home.  

However, one of the most disturbing of Millar’s last wishes was called by the press , “The Baby Derby” and “Great Stork Derby” , Millar stated in his will that he would give a fortune to the Toronto woman who had given birth to the greatest number of children by the end of a ten-year period following his death. The courts upheld his will and word of the challenge swept the city. Newspapers actually kept track of women participating in the derby and wrote stories on mothers who were able to give birth to twins and triplets. The religious community in Toronto and Millar’s relatives was appalled on many levels. No one could challenge the document because Millar was a solid attorney and created a document that the courts had to uphold.

On May 30, 1938 , exactly 10 years after Millar’s death , a judge awarded a cash estate worth $568,106. One mother gave birth to 10 children but was disqualified because the same man did not father all of her children. Another women also did not fair well. She had given birth to 5 stillborns out of the nine children she gave birth to. Each woman was given $12,500 for her efforts. The bulk of the money was split equally to four mothers who gave birth to nine children each.