Wills: Inheritance of Headaches

It sounds too trite to be true. Little old lady meets polite young policeman; polite young policeman befriends little old lady; little old lady leaves entire estate to polite young policeman. And who does the little old lady turn out to be? Why, none other than one of the heiresses to Texas' fabulous King Ranch, worth millions.

It happened in Chicago, in 1965. There, just two weeks before Christmas, a spinster lady named Alice Byron Atwood died at 85, leaving behind a reputation for warmness and generosity.

Being the granddaughter of Richard King, she also left behind upwards of $10 million—all...

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