Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, November 19, 2012

Reclusive Millionaire Leaves Fortune to Town

WillsJohn J. Osborne was a man that lived in Belleair, Florida, and that is probably all that his neighbors and the town knew of the man. He lived alone where he kept to himself. His neighbors described him as a man that "seemed polite." So it came as a surprise to the town where he lived when he decided to give them his entire estate, which included $4 million worth of stock. The town manager, Micah Maxwell, stated that he guesses that Mr. Osborne must have loved the town although he admitted that he never would have guessed it. The only interaction that Mr. Osborne had with the town's officials was that he would frequent Belleair's building department. There he would often research properties that he probably considered purchasing. 

Mr. Osborne's true motives are still mystery. Maxwell thinks that he might have received the idea from another one of Belleair's residents who gave the town her waterfront home. The testator, Eleanor Thompson, "asked the town to convert the property to park." The town has yet to receive the money because the estate is still going through probate. They are expected to receive the money sometime next year. Mr. Osborne recently passed away from cancer. His was survived by his sister in New York.

See Stephanie Wang, Little-known Man Leaves Belleair His $4 Million Estate, Tampa Bay Times, Nov. 13, 2012.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.


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