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She Died Without Heirs, Left $7.5M to Neighbors

Renate Wedel left her stock portfolio, property to her German neighborhood
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2020 5:15 PM CST

(Newser) – There are good neighbors and there are bad neighbors, and then there's the late Renate Wedel, who surely has ascended to the level of "pretty great" in the eyes of those from the Germany community she lived in for decades. Wedel died last December at the age of 81 in a nursing home in Frankfurt am Main, notes a statement from the Waldsolms district in Hesse, cited by CNN. Wedel's husband, Alfred, whom she'd moved with to the six-village district in 1975, had died in a Butzbach nursing home in 2014. Wedel's sister, who'd been her heir, had already died as well. Which is why in April of this year, Waldsolms got some surprising news: Wedel had bequeathed $7.5 million in stocks to the district, which also inherited a Weiperfelden property after another inheritor turned it down.

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"I thought at first, this is simply not possible," Waldsolms Mayor Bernd Heine told local media outlet Hessenschau. "I thought a comma had slipped, something is not quite right." Turns out Alfred Wedel had been "active on the stock exchange and was very successful," resulting in quite a nice windfall for Waldsolms. Heine tells Hessenschau the money will be put to good use, with possible plans to funnel it toward local infrastructure, education, and bicycle paths. Meanwhile, residents have suggested the inheritance be pumped into public transit, kids facilities, and a community swimming pool. "We will deal with it very responsibly, develop our community for the benefit of all, and keep an honorable memory of both" Wedels, the district statement says. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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