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Neighbor inherits $12.5 million

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Monday, December 3, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

A little kindness goes a long way. Just ask the Sydney, Australia, neighbors of Betty Harris, who were surprised to learn they had inherited her $12.5 million estate upon her death in 2009.

The neighbors, Beatrice Gray and her husband, Robert, brought Harris bread and milk, helped her with her chores and paid her bills.

The widowed Harris had no children and was estranged from her nieces and nephews. One niece, the prior beneficiary of the estate before Harris revised her will, waged a nasty, two-year legal battle but lost. According to Australia's News.com, the niece wanted to put Harris in a nursing home against her wishes. Harris also told people she hadn't spoken to her nieces or nephews for 13 years and she swore they would get none of her wealth.

Although a doctor determined Harris, age 95 when she died, was suffering from mild dementia in 2005 when she revised her will, the court did not believe she was unaware of her actions.

News.com reported that Harris had explained her bequest by saying: "The Grays would be surprised, (while) my family are waiting for me to die." She added that "I am determined that my relatives after what they have put me through will not get one cent."

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48 Comments
Margaret
December 04, 2012 at 4:39 am

The best hope for you to be correctly cared for when you are very
old is for you to help the elderly in your family now. Your children and nieces and nephews will see what you do and how you treat the older relatives or neighbors. When it's their turn, it will seem the natural thing to do. Children learn by example.

Hadj Benzerrouki
December 04, 2012 at 2:45 am

Of course,her family were hoping for her quick death,as the quickest way to her Millions!But I am 100% certain that her neighbors wanted her dead just as much as her nieces and nephews wanted her quickly gone!The only difference is that her neighbors were smarter,while being hypocritically subservient to the very rich nearly dead neighbor!

mel
December 04, 2012 at 1:30 am

or did the neighbors know all along of her wealth and were the
evil people here
I take peper to neighbor
but they paid her bills??
hmm not rocket science here to know they knew how much money she had..
so..nobody won and will it be on neighbors mind...all the time??
she should of given to charity!!
spaz..out

Lauren
December 04, 2012 at 12:39 am

I love this story! The neighbors were just being kind to an elderly widow and the greedy nieces and nephews get zip! So glad this woman, Ms. Harris, had the clarity of thought to change her will to leave her estate to WHOM SHE wanted to leave it to -- as it should be.

Sadly it's the norm that families will fight over assets. You get to see a true person's character, or lack thereof, when it comes to inheriting $$$ and assets. How pathetic. Saw it with my own family. My siblings actually stole money out of my mother's account that she put me in charge of. We are still estranged to this day. If my mother said give every last cent of hers to whomever she wanted to give it to, I'd have honored her wishes -- it was HER MONEY! Sadly, many children and family members think they're "entitled" to somebody's money. They are NOT!

sonny
December 04, 2012 at 12:31 am

Well deserved. People like that ARE needed in this world. I would be such a pleasant world to live in. Unfortunately, family members are a horror. You would think they would take care of you. It really scares me with the way this generation is. I told my daughter I don't want to go to a nursing home. I just pray that God takes me before I am a burden to anyone. You would think,especially for the poor old folks that have no children, that the next best thing is nephews and nieces but, as that old saying goes, money is the root of all evil.Thats why I live my life on a hush hush. If ever I come into money, I don't anyone to know. I just might inheret family members I never knew I had. A cousin twice removed or something...God Bless this couple. Im happy that their kindness was rewarded. Goes to show, good deeds arent always overlooked...Take the time to be kind, you just never know who is watching...

NA
December 03, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Super, super, and just super...because I would have done the same thing. I will not leave any of my adopted siblings, their children, their grands, cousin, uncle and aunts any money. And if my adult children, their children, and great grands don't take great care of me in my old age they will be left out too. I will leave two wills stating the exact same thing. One will will be in writing and the second will will be video and posted on my facebook account. I refuse now and know I will refuse in the future to leave one penny to any adopted family members. My real mother has two evil sisters whom I don't communicate with and not one penny should go to them, their children, their grands, and every generation on down the line. I never knew my real mother's father but none of his children, grands, great grands,and every generation on down the line should not receive one penny of my will, either. Since I don't have true brothers or sisters, if any shows up, not one penny should be given to them or their off spring either. My money should only be given to my children who will take excellent care of me. And, no step children should receive one penny either nor their offspring.

NA
December 03, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Super, super, and just super...because I would have done the same thing. I will not leave any of my adopted siblings, their children, their grands, cousin, uncle and aunts And if my adult children, their children, and great grands don't take great care of me in my old age they will be left out too. I will leave two wills stating the exact same thing. One will will be in writing and the second will will be video and posted on my facebook account. I refuse now and know I will refuse in the future to leave one penny to any adopted family members. My real mother has two evil sisters whom I don't communicate with and not one penny should go to them, their children, their grands, and every generation on down the line. I never knew my real mother's father but none of his children, grands, great grands,and every generation on down the line should not receive one penny of my will, either. Since I don't have true brothers or sisters, if any shows up, not one penny should be given to them or their off spring either. My money should only be given to my children who will take excellent care of me. And, no step children should receive one penny either nor their offspring.

Lilly
December 03, 2012 at 11:36 pm

That's wonderful. The neighbors are the type of people we need more of & gives the greedy relatives exactly what they deserved.

John
December 03, 2012 at 9:26 pm

It's nice to see that people get rewarded, while not knowing she was rich & gave there time & efford to make sure she was taken care of. A good lesson for family's with rich aunts!

Julie
December 03, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Way to help your neighbor out. Where were those kids when she needed them and when she had bills to pay? They could have came over to help clean her house I am sure the Gray's had other thing to do or at leases things they could have done at there own house. Congrads what a well deserved gift for the ones that where there for her!