Reading on Neil Gaiman, (ooo theres that name again...)'s site, about the need for creative people to update their wills and the dire consequences thereof should you not, I am moved to tell you ordinary folk what happened to us. Same song, different key.
My mother was heiress to a small estate that was, at one time, immense. Her father was a business savant and had properties all over the city. More importantly, he owned key blocks that he knew were imperative to the city's expansion. He also had options on other properties he felt important. He was an Engineer and a Scot. Very very savvy. Alas, he died too young and left his affairs en totale to his wife, who was, to be kind, a very pleasant well-bred Englishwoman.
What she didn't give away to scions of the city for fire sale prices, she moped over until selling. As the years went on, these once formidable holdings dwindled. This drove her eldest daughter, my Mother, quite wild as she like her father was very business savy. Grandmother would not yield power until she was very elderly, frail and then only under duress. So tens of millions turned to hundreds of thousands but still, not inconsequential.
My mother died and the love of her life, my father was her heir, At least that's what he said although he would never produce a will or even converse on the topic rationally. Dad, who was born to a very poor family and had worked his way to the top of his profession the very hard way, was not amenable to his wife's estate being probated. My eldest sister wanted to force the issue. She was quite correct.
Father of course dug his heels in and said "She left everything to me. It's mine mine mine." (yes, that is a direct quote)
My mothers decline and death had been long and drawn-out and during the course of it, our father had suffered a near fatal heart attack. He had also allowed her to die at home. This came at great cost to him. Emotionally & financially at least. We decided that we would not force him to probate.
---one year later----
Hell came to town in high heels, cheap breast implants and very cunning acumen regarding aging widowers with high libidos. Before you could say "RUN DAD RUN" they had eloped and that was that. 28 days after meeting. Silly Dad.
Too bad Dad's bliss lasted exactly one year. Mysteriously, he suffered a cerebral hemoragge from a blow to the head, requiring lengthy brain surgery and rehabilitation. After months in hospital he went home where he lived as a virtual prisoner for one year. The following year I started my campaign to free him.
so: the cunning little vixen got all the cash that was laying about in Mom's old accounts, the house on the water, the property in the States, 50% of my Dad's not insubstantial pension, and after he dies, as his last wife, she will get $77,000 a year for life, indexed.
Had we forced Dad to probate.,.. the accounts would have been protected, the house would still be his, and well.... likely this horrid bit of sleaze would have chosen a different victim as the probate thing would have shown up in a financial check.
(She does them before meeting and marrying her grieving spouses to be.)
It can happen to anyone.
I drive past the resorts in my paradise as a matter of course for work purposes, and I think about the complete injustice of things.
Nevermind. Karma gotta get her.
I would not want to be her. For any amount of money.
It is only money.
What does she see when she looks in the mirror? A demon with silicone breasts, collagen lips, and a trail of ex-husbands.
Nice bank balance though.
So, if an obvious type in her 60s gets cozy with YOUR father or someone you care abouts relative, GET A BACKGROUND CHECK DONE ON HER fast.
And if her first two names are RUTH LOUISE... well now.
We will have something in common.
Like the plague.