Couple Inherits $40M Estate from Elderly Neighbor after Her Death – Her Family Got Nothing
In the most astounding turn of events, a family was left empty-handed after their rich elderly relative’s demise. But what stunned them the most was how two strangers were declared rightful owners of the woman’s multi-million-dollar estate. Here’s the whole story!
As humans, we prefer to be in control of situations and might not always like things spiraling out of control. When something goes against our wishes, we often feel hurt, disillusioned, and hopeless.
Regaining our balance and finding a way out might not always be easy, even if it lasts momentarily. Something similar happened to an Australian family when life surprised them in ways they had never thought possible.
Purchasing a New House
In 1999, David Moore and his partner, Dee Andreasen, bought a house on 70 Louisa Road in Birchgrove, Sydney’s Inner West area. They described their then-new residence as the “worst house in the best street.”
But her hopes and wishes seemingly went down the drain.
Their Wealthy Next-Door Neighbor
When they began living in the wealthy suburb, the couple met Barbara Murphy, who owned 66 and 68 Louisa Road properties. Murphy had rented out the other units and was the only tenant residing upstairs at 68 Louisa Road, Birchgrove.
According to Bev Maunsell, another neighbor who lived across the road for over three decades, Ms. Murphy grew up during the Great Depression. Maunsell said she attended every auction event in Birchgrove, was a prudent money handler, and knew the worth of each property.
Meanwhile, Moore and Andreasen, who initially lived down the street, ended up forging a close friendship with Murphy after moving next door to her. It was something neither of the parties had anticipated, but it was a pleasant experience.
Ms. Murphy’s Will
Sadly, Ms. Murphy passed away in her Sydney waterfront home in 2015 at age 83. In her will which she reportedly altered a year before her death, she gave her next-door neighbors, Moore and Andreasen, $25,000.
As for the rest of her estate worth $11 million at the time, she left it to her brother and sister, Don and Marion. They were to divide it equally, but if Murphy outlived them, all the proceeds would go to two Sydney hospitals.
aking the Matter to Court
Strangely enough, Moore decided to contest the late Ms. Murphy’s will in court, claiming he and his wife were the rightful inheritors of her estate. They even visited Ms. Murphy’s siblings, Don and Marion, in their New South Wales Far North Coast home, in an attempt to settle the matter out of court.
While the siblings appeared surprised by their sister’s decision to entrust them with her estate, especially with the brother unaware of the property’s value at the time, they didn’t budge. They refused Mr. Moore’s request and he was forced to await the court’s decision.
Empty-Handed & Devastated
The legal fight lasted six years, during which time Don and Marion passed away, and the court fees continued to increase. Finally, in October 2020, Ms. Murphy’s neighbors won the case and received their much-awaited windfall.
The shocking news devastated Marion’s stepkids, Carol Gaarde, David Hickman, and Shirley Archer. They believed that after Marion’s death, they would automatically be entitled to the estate.
Hickman said she and her family cared for Marion and deserved their share of the property. She was also dumbfounded at how the court could supersede something as substantial as a will.
In addition to Hickman, another person shattered by the court’s verdict was Gaarde. Given her financial conditions, she had hoped to use her share of the inheritance to better her situation. But her hopes and wishes seemingly went down the drain.
A Promise Made Years Ago
So, how did Mr. Moore and Ms. Andreasen win the challenging court case? When they first began living next door to Ms. Murphy, they wanted to renovate their house. They even planned to sell their waterfront home at a high price.
But they decided to forgo renovation plans over the course of their friendship with Ms. Murphy. Per Mr. Moore, the wealthy older lady promised to leave them her entire estate, but she had two conditions.
First, she urged the couple not to extend their property so her lovely harbor views wouldn’t be blocked. Second, because she had no kids and close relatives in Sydney, she asked them if they would be interested in caring for her, so she wouldn’t have to spend her remaining life in a nursing home.
Keeping Their Word & Winning the Case
Mr. Moore and his partner told the court they kept their side of the conditions. In fact, they said Ms. Murphy was so pleased with them that she promised to leave her whole estate in their names.
Eventually, the judge ruled in their favor after considering how well they kept to their word. Moore and Andreasen were declared rightful owners of what had grown to an estimated $40 million estate in return for staying true to their promise to Ms. Murphy.
What are your thoughts on this story? Do you agree with the court’s decision to hand the late elderly woman’s multi-million-dollar estate to her neighbors?
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