Phyllis Hanse was a fixture in her small town of Webster South Dakota. An unassuming woman, Phyllis had taught piano to thousands of children over several decades beginning in the 1950s. Even though she had no children of her own, she was a fixture at local school activities over the years. Maybe that’s why she left the $4.2 million surprise for the local school and community.
Jon Rohr of tiny Limon Colorado was a wealthy man but you couldn’t prove it by his lifestyle. The manager of the local electric cooperative, Mr. Rohr was known for driving an old car without air conditioning and preferring to shop at thrift stores instead of the local shopping malls. It was this frugal lifestyle which gave the townspeople the impression Mr. Rohr was not a “man of means”. Imagine their surprise when this same gentleman left a multi-million dollar estate to benefit the community!
As we discussed last week, one of the most important things a Surprise Millionaire can do is to make sure their wishes are known prior to their passing. Unfortunately, I have stumbled upon another story with a Surprise Millionaire’s will, this time from the United Kingdom. Retired mid-wife and nurse, Joan Edwards thought she had done it completely right. She contacted her local solicitors and had a last will and testament drawn up making (she thought) her last wishes known. It appears that even with all of this preparation, the specifics of the will’s bequest were still open to interpretation. It was unfortunately left to the government (and its political parties) to sort it all out. I guess I need to amend my cautions on this subject to include, “make your wishes known, make them legal and make them very clear.