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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
Cathy
December 04, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I agree with eli! But, I also agree with steward. Lots of kids think they are entitled to everything my husband and I own! They even had the guts to tell me who should be the executor of what we own. I quickly announced the executor would be a third, unbiased party. Little do they know everything is to be sold and the money goes into trusts for each of them.

steward
December 04, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Bravo Betty Harris. The problem today is our kids think an inheritance is an entitlement. Its not an entitlement, its a gift. And we bestow gifts upon our friends. Someone who only speaks to you when they need money or a favor is not a friend. My Son and Grand Daughter have not spoken to me in 12 years. Because my son is a self serving loser he was written out of both of his Grandmas wills. Now he is treating my wife and me just like he treated his Grandmas, so once again he gets nothing.

matchy
December 04, 2012 at 2:14 pm

You have to also remember that the article says Sydney, AUS << most properties in AUS are worth tons but in Sydney alone most of the neighborhoods are prime real estate. This woman was in her 90's too, so she probably bought low and the value increased over the years to what amounted to millions... bravo to the couple who treated her so kindly when even her own family wanted to discard her!

Cindy
December 04, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Sounds a little like "Undercover Boss." I bet the elderly neighbor lived frugally and had a modest home- no way that the neighbors knew her net worth.

joe
December 04, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Everyone should thank the Greys If we would only treat eachother the way this couple treats the rest of the world .It is gives proof that there is hope that that in this short life we can make it a better place for all of us .

one who know’s
December 04, 2012 at 12:00 pm

good for them i am doing the same thing but i am leaving it to a pet shelter to all my little children instead of greedy people that are waiting to get it they will be surprized all right HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Tom
December 04, 2012 at 11:59 am

The point is just to be a good neighbor with a little friendliness makes life better for all concerned.

one who knows
December 04, 2012 at 11:31 am

To Eli
Don't judge a book by its cover. You would be surprised at how many people have millions and don't live in many neighbor hoods etc.

one who knows
December 04, 2012 at 11:28 am

The one who makes out in this deal is the LAWYERS!!!!!!!!!!!

eli
December 04, 2012 at 11:19 am

If they were neighbors to someone with a 12 million dollar estate then they weren't bad off themselves. Now if the story had been of someone who inherited this who had much lesser means then would be a big deal.