Have you ever fantasized about receiving a huge inheritance from a long-lost rich relative who died? Even though it’s very unlikely to happen; we think many people did wish for it at one point. It’s definitely soap-opera material, but it actually happened to some very lucky people.
1. A wealthy Portuguese aristocrat picked his heirs from a phone book.
Unmarried and childless with no living relatives, Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral de Camara left his fortune to 70 random people listed in a Lisbon phone directory. He wrote his last will and testament 13 years before his death at a registry office and chose names from a phone book in front of two witnesses. When the heirs were contacted by his lawyers after his death, definitely they were shocked. Some thought they were being scammed. But believe it or not, they were the lucky recipients of his 12-room apartment, a house, luxury car, two motorbikes, bank accounts and each of them received several thousand euros. Not bad for just being listed in a phone book!
2. A lawyer and prankster’s will caused women to bear as many children as possible.
Millar was a successful Canadian lawyer, but he was most known for his love of jokes and pranks which played on people’s greed. One of his pranks was his granting of his vacation home to three people who hated one other. His greatest and strangest prank was his last will. It stated that the balance of Millar’s estate was required to be converted to cash ten years after his death, to be given to the Toronto woman who gave birth to the most number of children in that time. In the event of a tie, the inheritance should be divided equally. The will sparked what was known as the Great Stork Derby, a contest held from 1926 to 1936, wherein eleven families competed. Four mothers who each bore nine children received $125,000 each.
3. An Argentine maid inherits millions from long-lost father.
Retired Argentine maid Eva Paole legally inherited her birth father’s $40 million fortune after nine years of legal battle and the exhumation of her grandmother’s remains to compare DNA. She heard of a rumor that she might be the daughter of an illustrious land baron Rufino Otero, and she wanted to find out if it was true. Her whole life she thought that she was the daughter of her mother and her partner, but it turned out that her mother took the secret to her grave. Officials were unable to compare Paole’s DNA with Otero himself because they found that his corpse had been recently switched for another. They used the remains of the land baron’s mother instead and DNA test results confirmed that Paole was a child of Otero. Her battle to find out her true identity made her $40 million richer.
4. A journalism student from Moldova unexpectedly receives a fortune from an uncle he barely knew.
In 2008, Sergey Sudev was bewildered after finding out that his uncle whom he hadn’t seen for ten years had died and left him a staggering 950 million euros in inheritance. When agents searched for him and knocked on his door to tell him the news, he thought it was a joke. Sergey seemed to have made a very good impression on his German uncle for him to be written in the billionaire’s last will. Sudev, that time, was studying journalism, but he himself made news because the inheritance suddenly made him the richest man in Moldova. He continued to study and kept his job at a local radio station, but he was constantly interrupted by friends and people asking for loans.
5. A young waitress becomes an heir of regular customer’s fortune.
A then-17-year-old Cara Wood was working as a waitress in Ohio when she befriended a regular customer, Bill Cruxton. Cruxton liked Wood so much that he always sat in her section. She lost her father when she was a child, and he was a widower, so they became close friends. Besides being her regular waitress, she helped him around the house and ran errands for him. He said if he had kids, they would be just like Cara. When Cruxton died, he had a picture of her at the hospital. Woods found out that the widower rewrote his will to put her as his primary heir, and the beneficiary to his half a million dollars, his house and two cars. What a huge tip!
6. Two homeless brothers inherit billions from a grandmother they never even knew.
This is a real story of rags to riches with a bizarre twist of fate. Two Hungarian brothers, Zsolt and Geza Peladi, were living in a cave outside Budapest and sold junk to sell for some pennies. At an early age, they were both abandoned by their mother, and they didn’t know that she came from a wealthy family. They only learned of their great fortune, as well as their sister who lives in America, when charity workers in Budapest were contacted by lawyers who handled the estate of their maternal grandmother who died in Germany. Their connection to her was only discovered by genealogical research. The two of them and their sister became the heirs of their grandmother’s four-billion-euro-fortune, as all of their deceased grandmother’s known relatives were already dead, including their estranged mother. You thought this only happens in soap operas, right?
7. A dog was bequeathed with millions after the death of the “Queen of Mean.”
When the controversial New York businesswoman and hotelier, Leona Helmsley, died of cardiac arrest, much of her fortune went to her Maltese dog named Trouble. Known as the “Queen of Mean” due to her eccentric and flamboyant personality and tyrannical behavior, she left a grand total of $12 million to her fancy pooch, which was eventually hated by the public because of that. Her grandchildren received less – with two of them each received $5 million in cash and $5 million in trust, while the other two received nothing “for reasons that are known to them.”
8. A homeless man had millions in inheritance but never received it.
Let us tell you an unfortunate story: a homeless man in Bolivia named Tomas Martinez was the heir of a wealthy ex-wife. When the police came to bring him news of his $6-million inheritance, he ran away and disappeared because he seemingly thought the police were going to arrest him due to his drug and alcohol habits. His ex-wife Ines Gajardo Olivares inherited the money herself from her family and was going to pass it on to Martinez as they never had children. Sadly, Martinez was never found again.