Her husband had skillfully amassed a multi-million dollar fortune. When her husband learned that he was dying he asked only one thing of her---he told her the entire fortune is yours but please do this one thing, have a will drawn up. He said something to the effect----Since we have no children everyone will try to dip their hand in the till. So please draw up a will. You can have it all given to charity if you wish---just don’[t let any of it get into the hands of those conniving no good relatives of ours who’ve always been trying to mooch off of us.” But after his death she had no will drawn up. Years later at the age of 81 Mrs. Henrietta Garrett died in her Philadelphia home on the night of November 16, 1930. She left behind a $17 million dollar estate and no will. She had at the time of her death only one known relative a second cousin---and she had less than a dozen friends still living. But at the news of her death, the vultures descended. It wasn’t dozens or even hundreds of people who claimed they were entitled to some of the estate---it was thousands---in fact to date more than 26,000 people from 47 of the United States and from 29 foreign countries have staked their claims. Over the course of time more than 3000 lawyers have been employed on the case.
In their efforts to get some of this money---alleged relatives and friends have committed perjury, forged family records, altered church records, changed their names and concocted all kinds of stories of illegitimacy. Twelve have been fined, ten sent to jail, two have committed suicide, three have been murdered. In the meantime the estate’s grown to over $30 million.