The last will & testament of william shakespeare

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  1.  It appears that in or shortly before January 1616, Shakespeare set out to finalize his last will and testament with the help of his lawyer (Stratford), Francis…
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  • 1.  It appears that in or shortly before January 1616, Shakespeare set out to finalize his last will and testament with the help of his lawyer (Stratford), Francis Collins of Warwick. Collins, who served as Shakespeare's attorney for at least eleven years, was likely also a close friend of his client. For some reason, however, Shakespeare found it necessary to make corrections and additions to the will and the official version was not signed by the five witnesses until March 1616. The original copy of Shakespeare's will consists of three large sheets of paper bound together by a narrow strip of parchment at the top margins, and contains three signatures of the poet, one on each page.
  • 2. •He left £100 to his daughter Judith for a marriage portion and another £50 if she renounce any claim in the Chapel Lane cottage near New Place previously purchased by Shakespeare. •He left another £150 to Judith if she lived another three years, but forbade her husband any claim to it unless he settled on her lands worth the £150. •If Judith failed to live another three years, the £150 was to have gone to Shakespeare's granddaughter Elizabeth Hall. •He also left Judith a silver bowl
  • 3. He left £30 to his sister Joan Hart He permitted her to stay on for a nominal rent in the Western of the two houses on Henley Street, which Shakespeare himself inherited from his father in 1601.
  • 4. To his nephews in his will  He left each of Joan's three sons £5. To his granddaughter, Elizabeth in his will  He left all his silver plate, except the silver bowl left to Judith, to his granddaughter Elizabeth. To the Poor of Stratford in his will  He left £10 to the poor of Stratford
  • 5.  He left his sword and various small bequests to local friends.  His lifelong friend Hamnet Sadler was specifically mentioned to enable him to buy a memorial ring  His friends, "my fellows John Hemynges Richard Burbage & Henry Cundell," were named leaving them 26s..8d to also "buy them Ringes."
  • 6.  The only mention that Shakespeare specifically makes of his wife was to leave her his "second best bed with the furniture."  It is, however, understood that it would have been her right, through English Common Law, to one-third of his estate as well as residence for life at New Place  Why did Shakespeare bequeath his wife, Anne, the “second best bed?”  The “first best bed” was the one guests were offered when visiting. Anne had slept in the second best bed, spending most of her nights alone while her husband was away. According to Elizabethan law a wife was entitled to one-third of her husband's estate. Shakespeare did not feel the need to be more specific in the will. After her husband died, Anne lived in New Place with her elder daughter, Susanna Hall, who had inherited the bulk of her father's estate.
  • 7.  "All the Rest of my Goods, Chattels, Leases, Plate, Jewels & Household stuff whatsoever after my debts and Legacies paid & my funeral expenses discarded" William’s son-in-law, Dr. John Hall, oversaw his final days and treatment.
  • 8. The illness that took his life is still a mystery. As previously mentioned Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, and was buried on April 25 in the Holy Trinity Church graveyard in Stratford-upon-Avon
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