Betty Harris died in 2009 at the age of 95 years old. She was a wealthy woman who lived in Sydney, Australia. While most people choose to leave their assets to family members, Harris decided to leave her entire estate worth $12.5 million to her neighbors.
Even though she died several years ago, her estate has just been finalized after an intense court battle between her niece and her neighbor. In 1996, Mrs. Harris had created a will which left the entirety of her estate to her niece, Mrs. Hart, but had since changed the documents in 2005 to leave the entire estate to her neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Gray. Mrs. Harris expressed to multiple individuals on many occasions that her nieces and nephews were estranged from her and were simply waiting for her to die so they could get her money.
Mrs. Hart had gone so far as to seek to have Mrs. Harris put in a care facility and attempted to get a financial manager appointed to allow her to access the funds. She claimed that she worried the Gray’s would try to take advantage of her aunt. Her actions angered and humiliated Mrs. Harris.
Mrs. Harris made it very clear in her 2005 will that all her estate was to go to her neighbors and that she wanted her family to receive none of it. She stated that the Gray’s would be surprised by the funds whereas her family simply expected it.
The Grays lived next door to Mrs. Harris for 33 years and held a large role in her life. They helped her to pay her bills, handled the registration of her car, helped her make financial investments, purchased her groceries and helped her do her tasks around the house. The Gray’s were very surprised by the gesture from their long-time neighbor and simply expressed their appreciation for her kindness.
The will was declared valid in their Supreme Court and Mrs. Hart was prevented from receiving any part of the estate. After all, Mrs. Harris made her wishes very clear when she stated, “I am determined that my relatives, after what they have put me through, will not get one cent.”
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This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.
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