Woman destroys $1.4 million to disinherit heirs

November 10, 2015 Stuart Clark General Interest Tags: , , 0 Comments

Where there is money, litigation may follow. We have previously blogged about how in terrorem clauses, or even marriage contracts, are not infallible in their ability to discourage litigation from being commenced after death. While the use of these or other techniques may be successful in discouraging estate litigation from taking place, so long as there are funds available in the estate against which a claim may be made, an individual may be inclined to commence a claim against the estate. Perhaps knowing this to be the case, an Austrian grandmother recently took matters into her own hands, destroying approximately €1 million in bank notes shortly before her death in an apparent attempt to disinherit her heirs.

Yahoo News recently reported on an 85 year old Austrian woman who, shortly before her death, cut approximately €1 million in bank notes (approximately $1.4 million Canadian), along with her bank booklets, into small pieces, placing the pieces in tatters around the bed in her retirement home. It is believed that the reasoning behind the destruction of the funds was that the woman wished to disinherit her heirs.

While unconventional, the rationale behind such an approach seems fairly straight forward, as if there are no funds against which a disappointed beneficiary may make a claim, surely it would follow that the intention on the part of the deceased to disinherit her next-of-kin would be fulfilled.

While one has to admire her determination, it seems the beneficiaries themselves may have the last laugh in this instance, as Austria’s Central Bank, OeNB, has indicated that they may be willing to replace the destroyed funds, stating:

“If the heirs can only find shreds of money and the origin of the money is assured, then of course it can all be replaced… If we didn’t pay out the money then we would be punishing the wrong people.”

Maybe next time she will have to burn it.

Stuart Clark

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