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Rich Man’s Young Widow Learns He Left $4.7M Inheritance to Unknown 81-Year-Old Named Anna — Story of the Day

Sonali Bharadwaj
May 04, 2022
12:00 P.M.
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A young widow is baffled when she learns that her late husband left his $4.7 million inheritance to a frail 81-year-old woman named Anna Gilbert. She decides to meet Mrs. Gilbert and find out how she is tied to her late husband's life. What she learns in the process leaves her heartbroken.

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Millionaire businessman Benjamin Carney had pretty much everything a man would want in his life. He was a father to two handsome grown-up boys, Rick and Jonathan, had a gorgeous wife, Melissa, and there was no dearth of money for him.

However, life can be cruel to you when you least expect it, and that's what happened with 62-year-old Benjamin.

One evening, Benjamin had just returned home from work and was resting on the sofa when he felt a searing pain in his chest. The discomfort worsened before he could call for help, and he eventually succumbed to it.

The housemaid who used to come in the evenings to make dinner for them saw Benjamin unconscious as she entered the house and called an ambulance. But it was too late; Benjamin had already left for his heavenly abode by the time he made it to the hospital. He had suffered a heart attack.

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62-year-old Benjamin was a successful businessman. | Source: Pexels

Melissa was out with her friends at the time, and when she received the call about Benjamin, she dashed to the hospital. Sadly, Benjamin was no longer alive, and she collapsed on the floor, crying, as she saw his pale, lifeless body in the morgue.

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The next day, Melissa organized a funeral for Benjamin, and their sons, who were working abroad at the time, were informed of their father's death. Rick and Jonathan took the first flight home to be with Melissa and support her through this difficult period.

A day after the funeral, Melissa got a call from Benjamin's lawyer, Mr. Benerson, informing her that Benjamin had written a will a few years ago to ensure that his assets were appropriately distributed after his death. Mr. Benerson also told Melissa of the time of the will reading and invited her to attend, to which Melissa consented. He'd also asked Melissa if Rick and Jonathan could come, but the boys had already flown back that morning due to some urgent business.

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When Melissa arrived at Mr. Benerson's office the next day, she was surprised to see an elderly, feeble woman seated there. Melissa deduced the older woman was poor based on her ragged looks and pallid appearance.

"Who exactly is she? And what is she doing there?" she wondered as she approached Mr. Benerson's desk. 

"Oh, Mrs. Carney, please have a seat," Mr. Benerson told Melissa. "Since I'm pressed for time today, Mrs. Carney, I'd like to get right to the will. Allow me to read the will once before distributing the necessary paperwork. Should I begin?"

Melissa saw an older woman at Mr. Benerson's office. | Source: Pexels

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"Sure, Mr. Benerson," Melissa replied.

"All right," Mr. Benerson said, clearing his throat. "So, as per the will, Mr. Benjamin Carney desires to leave his major companies to his sons Rick Carney and Jonathan Carney, and his real estate holdings to you, Mrs. Carney, including two apartments in New Jersey and a house in California. Mrs. Anna Gilbert would receive the remainder of his $4.7 million in assets. Nothing follows."

"Wait, what? Who is Anna Gilbert?" Melissa asked, shocked. 

"She's seated directly behind you, Mrs. Carney," Mr. Benerson said, referring to the elderly lady Melissa had noticed as she entered the office.

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When Melissa turned back and stared at the older woman, she couldn't comprehend why Benjamin would leave such a large sum to a stranger. Had he done it for the sake of charity? Was he taking revenge on her because many younger guys would hit on her since she was young and charming? Benjamin hated it when men ogled their eyes over Melissa because of her beauty. 

Melissa was only 18 when she married Benjamin. He was 51 and had Rick and Jonathan from his first wife, who died shortly after giving birth to their second child, Jonathan. Benjamin had closed his heart to love after that until he met Melissa. They fell in love and got married but couldn't have any children. While it was a great pain for Melissa, she somehow found her happiness in Rick and Jonathan and got over the grief. Now in her late 20s, she was still as stunning as she was when she was 18.

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"I've never seen that old woman before," she whispered as she turned to face Mr. Benerson. "Who exactly is she?"

Melissa asked Mr. Benerson if he knew anything about the older woman. | Source: Pexels

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"I wish I could help you, Mrs. Carney, but I know nothing of her other than the fact that she's mentioned in the will, and—" 

Before Mr. Benerson could finish his sentence, Mrs. Gilbert approached them and began yelling at Mr. Benerson. 

"Now that you've finished wasting my time, I'm leaving! And please don't call me again! I'm not interested in any of the man's money. Is he hoping that money would make up for what he did? I'm not interested in anything he has to offer!" she yelled, then slowly exited the room with her cane.

Melissa was taken aback by Mrs. Gilbert's attitude. Why would a poor woman give up such a large sum of money? And why was she so upset with Benjamin? She needed answers, so when she saw the woman leave, she secretly followed her.

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Melissa noticed Mrs. Gilbert boarded a bus and followed her in her car.

Mrs. Gilbert finally got off the bus when it was becoming dark, and they were on the outskirts of town. Melissa noticed her walking into a street near the bus stop and followed her. A few minutes later, she saw Mrs. Gilbert stopped by an old, dilapidated cottage. 

Melissa noticed Mrs. Gilbert entering an old cottage. | Source: Pexels

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Melissa got out of her car and realized she was in the neighborhood where Benjamin had spent his entire childhood and a few days of his teens. She was standing beside her car, looking about when she noticed Mrs. Gilbert staring at her. Her eyes were filled with a weird rage as she stood at her door, staring at Melissa.

Melissa shook her head and approached her. "Hello, Mrs. Gilbert. I'm Melissa Carney. We met at the lawyer's—"

"SHUT UP!" Mrs. Gilbert yelled at her. "NEVER COME HERE AGAIN!"

"Look, Mrs. Gilbert, I know something happened between you and Benjamin, and I just want to know why you're so upset with him and how you know him. I just want to know why, and I promise I won't bother you again!"

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Suddenly, Melissa noticed Mrs. Gilbert's eyes welling up. "You don't know what your husband did to me?"

Melissa shook her head. "Well, that's why I'm here, Mrs. Gilbert. I want to know that."

"All right," Mrs. Gilbert said as she grabbed Melissa's hand and led her inside the cottage. "Do you notice all of these pictures?... Do you see the happy boy in them?"

One of the cottage walls was covered with pictures. | Source: Pexels

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Melissa noticed that one of the cottage walls was covered with framed photos of a smiling teenage boy with a much younger Mrs. Gilbert and a man. "I - I don't understand. Who is he?" Melissa asked, confused.

"That's my son, Daniel. My Daniel…oh, my poor boy," Mrs. Gilbert sank onto the living room sofa and buried her head in her hands. "During his university holidays, your husband Benjamin had returned home, and he and Daniel had gone to the lake near his house. Benjamin challenged Daniel to swim across the lake with him. 

"Daniel had never swum before and was terrified, but your husband began mocking him, and my kid agreed. As they approached the lake's center, Daniel saw Benjamin drowning and tried to save him! But in the process, my son died! Because of your husband, I lost my son!" she finished before breaking into tears.

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Melissa covered her mouth in shock and couldn't stop crying. "Oh, no, I - I am so sorry!"

"Your apologies will make no difference, young woman. You have no idea how much misery I've gone through for years. My husband died of depression a few years after Daniel died. He couldn't cope with our son's death, and I've been alone ever since. 

"My life ended the day I lost the people I cared about. But what about your husband? When he found out I was struggling, he sent me money. Can his money bring back the people I lost? IT CANNOT! And now he left me those millions of dollars. Huh! I don't need anything from him!"

Melissa couldn't stop crying after learning about David's death. | Source: Pexels

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"I am deeply saddened by your loss, Mrs. Gilbert. I understand that money isn't the answer to your problems, but I can help you. You are welcome to live with me, and I will look after you. I'll do everything you want, but don't hate Benjamin like that. He must have been very guilty all his life. I can assure you of that."

Mrs. Gilbert glared at her and said, "When you're done defending your husband, you're free to go! The exit is directly behind you!"

Melissa felt terrible when she left Mrs. Gilbert's house that day. She couldn't sleep that night because her thoughts kept returning to the older woman. While eating breakfast, she decided that she would somehow persuade Mrs. Gilbert to accept her help so that she wouldn't be alone and in such awful shape.

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She began paying daily visits to the older woman, sometimes bringing food and clothes or groceries. Mrs. Gilbert was adamant about refusing Melissa's help, but her heart softened with time. She noticed Melissa's efforts, and one day she cried in front of her.

"Stop doing everything for me, sweetheart. I feel bad for treating you like this. You know I can't forgive your husband."

Melissa kept visiting Mrs. Gilbert with one thing or the other until she accepted her help. | Source: Pexels

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"It's fine if you can't do that, Mrs. Gilbert. But if you don't want me bothering you every day, you'll have to accept my help. Please come with me."

Mrs. Gilbert finally agreed, and Melissa brought her home. With time, Mrs. Gilbert grew close to Melissa and eventually forgave Benjamin. Furthermore, Melissa's sons accepted Mrs. Gilbert as their grandma, and the older woman was never alone.

What can we learn from this story?

  • Kindness can heal wounds. With Melissa's help, Mrs. Gilbert overcame her son's loss and forgave Benjamin.
  • Compassion and empathy never go out of fashion. Melissa sympathized with Mrs. Gilbert's pain and helped her in overcoming it.
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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a woman who left her $3.7 mansion to a man who wasn't her son. 

This account is inspired by our reader's story and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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