Wills have existed from time immemorial, but have you ever wondered who was the first person to have the bright idea to write down what they want done with their stuff? Well put on your shendyt, brush up on your hieroglyphics, and join me on a trip to ancient Egypt.
The earliest Will was discovered in a tomb in Kahun, dating to around 2500 BC. In it, the unknown writer leaves his entire estate to his wife, Teta, but does include a number of stipulations. Just like many Wills today, it was signed by two witnesses.
However, the first Will is popularly attributed to Solon
, an ancient Greek statesman. According to Plutarch, prior to Solon, a person's belongings were distributed among their family members. However, Solon had some rules relating to Wills; the person writing them must be a citizen of Athens, a man at least 20 years old, must not be adopted, have no male children, in their right mind, not imprisoned, or 'induced to it by the charms and insinuations of a wife'.
In ancient Greek times, Wills didn't have to be written down, but could just declared in front of an appropriate number of people. Even so, most often it was put on paper and signed by two witnesses.
Historically, Wills didn't have to be long. One of the shortest ones was found in Germany and simply stated "All to wife". Not everyone was so succinct, though. Frederica Cook, daughter-in-law of explorer Sir Francis Cook wrote a four-volume gilt-edged Will reaching 1,065 pages and 95,940 words.
No matter what your Will may look like, it's important to have one. Getting your paperwork done is a great and easy way to accomplish New Year's Resolution! Contact Harrison Estate Law, P.A.