Widow leaves Chinese eatery owners $21M
LONDON - Think of it as a giant tip. A wealthy widow repaid the kindness shown to her by a family that runs a Chinese restaurant she frequented by leaving them $21 million, and a High Court judge ruled Friday that her will was legal.
Golda Bechal's 1994's will said she wanted Kim Sing Man and his wife, Bee Lian, the owners of a Chinese restaurant northeast of London, to inherit her money. She died at age 88 in January 2004.
Bechal's five nephews and nieces asked the court to declare the will invalid, claiming their aunt was suffering from dementia. They asked the judge to give the inheritance to them.
But Judge Donald Rattee accepted the restaurateurs' evidence that Bechal, sad and lonely after the deaths of her husband and son, became like a family member to the couple.
They went on foreign holidays together and regularly got together at their restaurant and at her apartment in Mayfair, central London.
"It was not irrational to leave the bulk of her estate to Mrs. Man, the daughter she would dearly wished to have had, and her husband," Rattee said.
Kim Sing Man remembered Bechal as a classy woman who "always enjoyed her Chinese pickled leeks and bean sprouts."