Woman gives fortune to window cleaner - cuts off family


When 98-year-old Julie Spalding died in September 2008, her 'favourite nephew' got quite a shock. She had apparently written a will leaving everything to him years before she died, but just before her death she changed it - giving every penny to her window cleaner.

Now the case has reached the high court.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
Spalding's nephew, 82-year-old Cecil Bray, was stunned when he heard what had happened. According to the Telegraph, his barrister has argued in court that Bray spent much of his time caring for his aunt during her life.

The Times reported that Spalding, from Hendon in North London, had always been 'cantankerous but fun' and 'spirited but stubborn'. However, after a fall in 2005 she suffered a major personality change and cut him out of her life. Her window cleaner argued that at this point he stepped in to care for her as her health deteriorated.

Between 2005 and 2007 she was said to have made three different versions of her will - with the final one favouring her window cleaner.

We will have to see how this case is resolved. However, it is far from the first time that someone has made a surprising choice when drawing up their will.

Odd wills

We reported last week about the Tory supporter who cut her Labour-supporting family out of her will and left everything to the Conservative Party. Her £769,000 donation was one of the largest the party had ever received, and as described as spiteful by one of her relatives.

At the end of 2012 it was the turn of an Australian woman who died at the age of 95 and left her entire £8.18 million estate to a neighbour who had been kind to her in her final years. During the court case, it emerged that she had been convinced that her family were after her money.

But bizarre bequests don't just stretch to neighbours and tradesmen, plenty of pets get a mention too.

German Karlotta Liebenstein left over a million Deutsche Marks to her German shepherd, Gunther III, in 1991. Even more oddly, the money was carefully invested, and then left to his son Gunther IV by which time it had grown to be worth tens of millions of pounds. Among his investments was the purchase of Madonna's old Miami estate.

Meanwhile, Leona Helmsley, a hotel heiress, cut most of her grandchildren out of her will and left the majority of her $12 million estate to her dog Trouble. A judge later ruled that the dog should get $2 million, which was spent on keeping him in grand style - and full time security to fend off dognappers. After his death in 2011 the remainder went to charity.

And in 2011 an Italian cat became the richest feline in the world, after being left £10 million by Maria Assunta, a 94-year-old millionaires with no living relatives. Her trustees gave her old nurse the cat to care for, and the money to use as she saw fit.
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