When a family member dies, they often leave their wealth to family members. Well, not in this case!
An elderly man left his inheritance of over $700,000 to a man who wasn’t in his family, and not one single penny went to his family!
Daniel Sharp, reportedly cleaned up the pensioner Ronald Butcher’s gutters, refusing any payment, and the pair struck up a friendship. Butcher died at the age of 75 in March 2013 and left about $770,000, to Sharp — cutting out his entire family.
Sharp says he struck up a six-year friendship with Butcher after the job at his bungalow. But Butcher’s family and friends say Sharp is lying and the will does not reflect his “true last wish”.
Butcher, described as a “private and quiet man”, died at his home in Enfield in March 2013 at the age of 75. His body lay undiscovered for almost two months, the court heard.
Sharp said he was shocked to discover Butcher had left him the whole of his $770,000 fortune in a will drawn up two months before he died. The builder insists the document — which cuts Butcher’s family out of any inheritance — is valid and was made of his own free will.
Sharp’s lawyer said of their friendship:
“Mr Butcher was a lonely man who found a friend in Mr Sharp. Mr Butcher knew what he was doing when he made the 2013 will and what its effect would be. They had a shared interest in DIY and he liked to hear about Mr Sharp’s son. That is an explanation why he wanted to make the 2013 will.”
Hutchins’ lawyer, Araba Taylor, didn’t contest that Butcher was of sound mind when he made the will, but she told the judge that the “odd” nature of the change ought to “excite suspicion.”
Butcher’s body wasn’t found until two months after he died in his Enfield, England, home, and Hutchins admitted she and her brother saw him more often before her mother died. However, she denied the claim by Sharp’s lawyer that she had “slowly lost contact” with Butcher.
“One or other of us would go and see him every break we had,” she said on the witness stand. “I had tried to pop in around March and had phoned.”
The trial is ongoing, but Sharp said he was grateful to Butcher.
“When I first cleaned out his gutter he offered me a tenner or 20 quid for it, but I said no, I wouldn’t take it,” he told the judge. “It was a nothing job that took seconds. I was shocked to be given something like that. It’s life-changing. Nobody gives you nothing in life.”