Lawyers Discover Teacher Quietly Held $6M Fortune
It took lawyers 2 years to learn extent of Kathleen Magowan's wealth
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 1, 2013 5:05 PM CST
A teacher kept her $6 million fortune quiet.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Kathleen Magowan lived a humble life until her death at 87 in 2011: She taught elementary school for 35 years in Simsbury, Connecticut; lived in a 100-year-old house that eventually sold for $250,000; and told lawyers a few years ago that she guessed her estate was worth about $40,000. Turns out that was a little bit off: Via her estate, Magowan ended up leaving some $5 million to 15 organizations that meant a lot to her, including the school district ($480,000), her nursing home ($400,000), a local university (more than $500,000), and her parish ($375,000), the Hartford Courant reports.

Her wealth—some $6 million—took the form of so many assets and papers that lawyers didn't realize its full extent for two years. A Quaker Oats can in a closet, for example, was packed with savings bonds from as far back as the 1940s; they may be worth $183,000. All this was among a huge collection of other items, including old magazines, records, and files in cereal boxes. "The clothes in the closet were still there from the parents," says a lawyer. "You would never know" how wealthy she was, says a university donations head. "She was low-key, sweet, compassionate." She apparently amassed her wealth with the help of her twin brother, Robert, who died in 2010 and managed her stocks and bonds, also unmarried, he lived with her later in life; the Courant notes that the twins' total net worth was about $10 million. (Click to read about a Seattle man who left behind an even bigger secret fortune.)

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Showing 3 of 22 comments
Dec 2, 2013 7:01 PM CST
Nobody left me a penny when they passed away. Maybe because they were poor, cases like this always stick out because of amount of money involved. She was one great finance manager. Good thing she didn't go with Wall Street. I am sure they would like to lay their palms on at least half a money.
Dec 2, 2013 11:46 AM CST
It is difficult to understand the lack of intelligence of writers of many of the posts here. This country needs a much better educational system...
Dec 2, 2013 10:03 AM CST
she either had Alzheimer's or was a huge liar to tell her attorneys that she only had $40k. and squirreling away savings bonds? she may have been nice but nuts...