In a strange turn of events, a 75-year-old man from London changed his will months before his death and left £500,000 (more than $600,000) to a workman while his close family members didn't get a dime. His reason for changing the will left everyone shocked.
Usually, people leave their estate to their children, spouses, or other immediate family members out of love for them. It's safe to say that inheritance is one topic that sparks family feuds when people aren't satisfied with the deceased person's will.
In some rare cases, people give their entire wealth to a person who's not their family, leaving their immediate family in shock. The man in today's story did the same thing while his loved ones were stunned to know who was the sole inheritor of his estate.
A QUIET MAN
No one knew that the "private and quiet" man, Ronald Butcher, had passed away until his dead body was discovered at his residence in Enfield, London, two months after his death.
75-year-old Butcher silently passed away in March 2013. People who knew him said he was a reserved man who never poked his nose in other people's businesses.
However, after his death, Butcher's will stirred a feud between his family and a workman, Daniel Sharp, who was more like a friend to him. Butcher's family was shocked after learning that he had revised his will two months before his demise.
THE STRANGE WILL
Butcher's cousin, Joyce Gilkerson, and the children of his close friend, Evelyn Hutchins and Peter Rogers, were sure they would inherit his estate after his death. However, things changed when they discovered he had modified his will.
He had no idea that Butcher planned to make him the sole inheritor of his estate.
The only name mentioned in Butcher's will was Daniel Sharp. It felt strange knowing he had given all of his wealth to the man who had cleaned his gutters once.
Six years before Butcher's death, Sharp showed up at his house and made his life easy by cleaning the gutters in Butcher's house. That day, the two became friends because of Sharp's kindness.
When it was time for Butcher to pay for the service, Sharp claimed he refused to accept the money. Butcher was surprised to see his kind gesture, and the two struck a friendship that lasted six years. Sharp explained why he cleaned the gutter free of charge:
"It was a nothing job that took seconds."
Photo of a gutter outside a house. | Source: Unsplash
THE CLUELESS FRIEND
Sharp claimed he often visited Butcher's house whenever he was in his neighborhood after the day they became friends. However, he had no idea that Butcher planned to make him the sole inheritor of his estate.
The workman said he was shocked to discover that his friend left a fortune worth $600,000 for him because no one gives such a huge amount to someone without any reason. He said:
"I didn't think he had people to give it to, or obviously they had had an argument. Something happened, and he gave it to me."
Last will and Testament papers. | Source: Unsplash
Sharp was also a boxing coach, while his son, Archie Sharp, was a professional boxer in England. He claimed that Butcher was interested in sports and often chatted about this topic.
However, Butcher's family claimed he had zero interest in sports and said Sharp's story about their friendship was "absurd."
On the other hand, Sharp guessed that Butcher might have added him as the sole inheritor of his property because he often visited him. He added:
"But if I'm the only one who went round to talk to him... I didn't know what's gone on with the others."
Boxing gloves. | Source: Unsplash
Since Sharp's claims didn't sit well with Butcher's cousin and the children of his close school friend, they took legal action by challenging the will. They knew that Butcher had made them the inheritors by writing his will in 2011 but had no clue about the amendment.
During the court proceedings, 53-year-old Hutchins said she respected her "Uncle" Butcher but had stopped seeing him frequently after her mother's demise. However, she claimed she had never heard of Sharp while talking to Butcher. Meanwhile, Rogers claimed Sharp was lying, saying:
"He would tell us about what was going on in his life, and Mr. Sharp never ever came up."
Close-up of man and woman signing papers. | Source: Unsplash
THE FINAL RESULTS
While the family's lawyer tried to prove that Butcher and Sharp had nothing in common and that Butcher didn't need the workman's help because he was a DIY enthusiast, the judge found no evidence against Sharp and said:
"I am satisfied that the 2013 will was executed with the knowledge and approval of Mr. Butcher and that he intended it to give effect to his testamentary wishes."
After the judge's final remarks, Sharp won the case and became the owner of the fortune his friend Butcher left for him, while his family found it difficult to accept the court's decision.
Lady Justice statue. | Source: Unsplash
How would you react if you were in Sharp's shoes after finding out Butcher left more than $600,000 for you? Would you mind sharing some of it with your deceased friend's family?
Click here to read another story about a couple who disinherited their only son, who was shocked to read the heir's name on their will.