This week, it sounds like the restaurant business is the place to be. First we had the (untrue) story of the $10,000 Donald Trump supposedly left a waiter. Today we have the story of restaurant owners who inherited $20 million from a wealthy friend. What's next? I hope I walk into a restaurant and get paid!!!!

Golda "Goldie" Bechel was 88 when she died in 2004, leaving a portfolio of commercial properties worth 10 million pounds (US$20 million dollars) to her friends, restaurateurs Kim Sing Man and Bee Lian Man. She described this couple as her best friends for many years.

The family of Bechel went to court to have her will declared invalid, but they lost. They claimed she was not of sound mind when she made the will ten years prior to her death. The judge rejected the argument. Bechel spent lots of time with the Mans, even going on vacations and spending holidays with them after her husband passed away.

While this is unfortunate for Bechel's family, the fact that she spent so much time with the Mans is telling. They apparently spent much more time with her than her own family, and the woman was right to leave the money and assets to those who cared about her most.

Forensic accountant Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations through her company, Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners honored Tracy as the 2007 winner of the prestigious Hubbard Award and her first book, Essentials of Corporate Fraud, will be on bookshelves in March 2008.



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