The Longest Will
It was 1,066 pages long, contained 95,940 words and had to be bound in 4 volumes. Two of these volumes contained 702 pages each, the other two contained 406 pages each.
Apart from the pages containing the standard introductory clauses, the pages are ruled with a single column and contain a priced inventory of laces, jewellery, furs, embroideries, dressing bags and art works. Many of the articles are explained in further footnotes and a substantial part of the Will is in Mrs Cook’s own handwriting.
The Will is dated 17th October 1919 and there is a codicil dated 2nd March 1924.
Probate was granted to Mrs Cook’s brother and son and the total estate was worth £100,000. Specific instructions were left to the executors to burn her diaries, bury her wedding ring with her, and to ensure that her age is not inscribed on her gravestone. She is buried in Richmond Cemetery.
In contrast, the shortest known legal Wills are those of Bimla Rishi of India which simply stated ”all to son” and Karl Tausch of Germany who only wrote “all to wife”. Both these Wills contained only three words.