UK Man Leaves $700,000 Estate To New Friend Who Cleaned HIs Gutters

A UK man named Ronald Butcher died in March of 2013 at the age of 75. Butcher’s estate was valued at over $700,000, but not a single penny went to his family because Butcher’s new will gave it all to a man named Daniel Sharp who cleaned his gutters.

Apparently, Sharp had cleaned Butchers gutters at no charge, and the two men had ended up friends. The two men had been friends for six years when Butcher died. Around two months before his death, Butcher changed his will and named Sharp as the beneficiary to receive all the money.

Builder Sharp recalls when he cleared the gutters at a pensioner’s bungalow, he waived the fee and said it was a “nothing job”.

Not surprisingly, Butcher’s family are disputing his will in the High Court, arguing it does not reflect Butcher’s ‘true last wish’.

Sharp says the document, drawn up two months before Butcher’s death, is fully valid and that he must have “fallen out” with his family because they never bothered to contact him.

Testimony in court described Butcher as a ‘private and quiet man’ who had formed a friendship with Sharp over the last six years.

The 45-year-old Sharp remarked he was “shocked” to have been left the “life-changing” inheritance, but explained he was “friends” with Butcher and made a point to visit him whenever he was in the area.

Butcher’s surviving “family” include his elderly cousin Joyce Gilkerson and the children of a close school friend – Evelyn Hutchins, 53, and Peter Rogers, 57 – who regarded him as their ‘Uncle Ron’.

Note that these three were equal beneficiaries in Butcher’s previous will from December 2011, and are asking the judge to revoke the latest will and reinstate the previous one.

Araba Taylor, the lawyer for Hutchins, granted it was accepted that Butcher had the mental capacity to make the new will and that it was not a forgery.

However, she argued that the “odd” nature of the bequest to Sharp should “excite suspicion” that Butcher likely did not fully comprehend the contents of the new will.

Jennifer Seaman, the attorney for Sharp, remarked: “Mr Butcher was a lonely man who found a friend in Mr Sharp. Mr Butcher knew what he was doing when he made the will and what its effect would be."

"He found a male friend in Mr Sharp, somebody he could chat to. They had a shared interest in DIY and he liked to hear about Mr Sharp’s son.”

In testimony, Sharp noted: “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. It was a nothing job that took seconds."

Answering a question about how he felt when he heard the news, Sharp replied: “I was shocked to be given something like that. It’s life-changing."

"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. I can’t say the reason why he gave it to me.”

Sharp continued: “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. Obviously there’s been a big falling out.”

In a bit of further tragedy, Butcher’s body was not found in his home in Enfield, north London until almost two months after he died in March of 2013.

Source: Relay Hero
Photo: Richard Gittins/Champion News

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