I had a wonderful widow who lived next door to me for the 17 years. In the last few years, she was partially disabled so I took her to the doctor and did all her grocery shopping. When there was a need for minor work around her house (like changing lightbulbs, changing her clothing closets for different seasons), I was the one she called. She always repeated that she would repay me in her will with a six-figure legacy. It sounded like pie in the sky, but I never tried to dissuade her. She died last month, and I was not part of her will. The bulk of her $450,000 estate was left to a distant cousin and to a lady who was her "telephone buddy." I was absolutely shocked by the size of the estate and that she left me nothing . . . not even the new TV I helped her buy last June. Harry, I'm not greedy, but somehow she must have forgotten me when she wrote that will, or someone must have talked her out of leaving me what she promised. How can I rectify this injustice?
What Harry says: Breaking a will is a very tough proposition. Unless you can prove that one of the beneficiaries used "undue influence" on her in the will's preparation, it will be virtually impossible. And undue influence is very difficult to prove. I'm certain that you helped her out of the goodness of your heart and not in the hope of getting an inheritance. Sure, you're disappointed and perhaps a bit envious, but I think it best to swallow hard and bask in the sunshine of the good work you performed.
Write Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, 400 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19130. Harry urges all his readers to give blood - contact the American Red Cross at 800-GIVE LIFE.