Yes, I know what you're thinking. Inheritance - uplifting? Well yes, it can be just that.
Inheritance is often a complex issue within families, and an issue which - as the existence of the Heir Hunters Association makes plain - occasionally requires the input of genealogists.
At worst, it can tear families apart. Even when there's a positive outcome, it often only comes after protracted pain, hassle, agony, and even litigation.
But it isn't always like this. Here are a few stories which might make you see the topic in a different light. On rare occasions such as these it can be positive - and, dare I say it, uplifting. Take a look at these three.
The Waitress Who Inherited a Small Fortune from a Customer
Cara Wood was a 17-year-old student, working at Drin’s Colonial Restaurant in her hometown just outside Cleveland. She was a model employee – always helpful and friendly to the customers. One patron, Bill Cruxton, took such a shine to her that he began coming to the restaurant regularly just to see her. A widower with no children, he eventually ended up going daily, just for some food and some company. They became friends, and Cara became so important to Bill Cruxton that he rewrote his will and made her the main beneficiary. When Cruxton died at 82 in the early 1990s, an unsuspecting Cara Wood had a pleasant letter arrive in the post. He’d left her his entire estate, worth half a million dollars.
The Portuguese Aristocrat Who Donated His Fortune to 70 Strangers Selected At Random From a Phone Directory
The regally-named Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara (ahem) died unexpectedly at 42. But some time earlier, he had planned a novel way of dispensing his inheritance. Childless and a bachelor, Luis Carlos had nobody to leave his substantial fortune to. So he had 70 people selected at random from a phonebook, in front of two witnesses in a registry office. At first many of the beneficiaries thought they were being scammed, since wills aren’t even a common practice in Portugal – let alone those arranged by random choice in a phonebook. But in the end quite a few people benefited nicely from the plan!
The Homeless Brothers who Inherited Over 100 Million Euros
Brothers Zsolt and Geza Peladi were so poverty-stricken that they lived in a cave outside Budapest, begging and selling scrap for money. One day all that changed. Charity workers in Hungary were contacted by lawyers, who had been handling the estate of the brothers’ recently-deceased maternal grandmother. She had been living in Germany, where under law direct descendents are automatically entitled to a share of any estate.
"We knew our mother came from a wealthy family but she was a difficult person and had severed ties with them, then later abandoned us and we lost touch with her and our father until she eventually died," said Geza, 43. Geza added: "If this all works out it will certainly make up for the life we have had until now - all we really had was each other - no women would look at us living in a cave. But with money maybe we can find a partner - and finally have a normal life. We don't know yet if she even told our grandmother about us - I understand it was only while they were carrying out genealogical research that lawyers found we existed."
So it just goes to show. Inheritance doesn’t always need to be a harrowing affair. Sometimes, it can even bring a smile to your face.