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The Last Will and Testament of Ben Franklin


Ben Franklin died at his home on April 17, 1790 at the age of 84. Approximately 20,000 people attended his funeral. Ben Franklin's Last Will and Testament had several interesting provisions, demonstrating his vast wealth but also his desire to leave a legacy.

Some interesting provisions in Franklin's Will include:

  • A bequest of his printing press business to his daughter
  • A bequest of his musical instruments and relief of any debts owed to his son-in-law, on the condition that his son-in-law set free his slave named Bob
  • 408 diamonds to his daughter, provided that she not make them into jewelry "and thereby introduce or countenance the expensive, vain, and useless fashion of wearing jewels in this country"
  • Numerous gifts to the cities of Boston and Philadelphia

The following is an excerpt from Ben Franklin's biography on Wikipedia describing his gifts to Boston and Philadelphia:

Franklin bequeathed $55,000 in 2010 Dollars to each to the cities of Boston and Philadelphia, in trust to gather interest for 200 years. As of 1990, more than $2,000,000 had accumulated in Franklin's Philadelphia trust, which had loaned the money to local residents. When the trust came due, Philadelphia decided to spend it on scholarships for local high school students. Franklin's Boston trust fund accumulated almost $5,000,000 during that same time; at the end of its first 100 years a portion was allocated to help establish a trade school that became the Franklin Institute of Boston and the whole fund was later dedicated to supporting this institute.

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