Here are the last wills and testaments of some of the most influential people in American history and popular culture. From George Washington to Elvis to Michael Jackson, these wills offer insight into the lives of historical figures and the evolution of estate planning.
This founding father left a detailed will, leaving real estate, cash gifts, musical instruments, and books to many different beneficiaries. He also famously left little to a son who had been on the wrong side of the American Revolution.
Babe Ruth was one of American professional baseball's most popular figures. Ruth was a mainstay in the Yankees' lineup that won seven pennants and four World Series titles during his tenure with the team. In 1936, Ruth became one of the first five players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The pop star, dead at 50 of a drug overdose, left a careful estate plan, with a will that transferred his fortune into a trust. In October 2011, Forbes magazine announced that Jackson's estate had earned $170 million in the previous 12 months.