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Pennsylvania woman makes scholars beneficiaries

Someone's death need not be just about grieving. In some cases, it can mean a good start in life for others. An example of that is an aged Pennsylvanian woman who recently died, leaving a legacy of scholarship for up-and-coming young people.

The woman finalized her will before dying at the age of 92 in Sept. 2012. She was widowed, without children and with little contact with relatives. In her will, she stipulated that the bulk of her $4 million estate would go to a scholarship fund, which a foundation will manage. Each year, a total of $50,000 will be awarded annually for one or more students at her chosen institutions and for alumni of her alma mater high school who plan to pursue a college degree.

She had worked as a clerk at the Pennsylvania Railroad, but made her way to becoming an executive assistant, a position that today is similar to a paralegal. She earned a bachelor's degree in art and continued taking art classes and painting. It is believed that she and her husband made their fortune from stock trading profits and dividends. According to the estate administrators, marshalling her assets was a hurdle because of the complex investments.

Gathering assets in a case like this can be challenging because the deceased had few persons to entrust with the details of her estate. However, the good news, whether in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, or anywhere else in the United States, is that she left a will and identified administrators to name the beneficiaries and the extent of the inheritance to be transferred. If those pieces had been missing or if there had been no estate plan, a probate would undoubtedly have taken a long time, and its cost could have substantially affected the value of the estate.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "O'Hara Woman Wills Her $4 Million Estate for Scholarships," Joyce Gannon, Nov. 12, 2013

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