Two sisters originally from Coolkeragh, Listowel, County Kerry have died leaving millions of dollars in their estate. Attorneys are now desperately seeking out the sister’s family in Ireland not to bequeath them the money but to inform them that all of the money will go to animal charities.
Mary Teresa and Nora Hayes moved from the small village in County Kerry and settle in the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York. Nora died on December 19, 1998 and Mary Teresa passed away in September 2006 leaving a fortune of millions.
Although their millions of dollars will be going to animal charities it seems that their Irish family members must all be informed that they will not receive a penny before the money goes to charity.
Louis McDonough is a lawyer in Listowel, County Kerry who has been charged with the job of finding the blood relatives of the multi-millionaires. He said “It seems to be a requirement of the American probate system that they be provided with information of cousins, so it's to help out an American attorney that we're trying to get the information.
"It's very rare that you have to go looking for relatives."
McDonough has issued an ad in national newspapers in Irealnd in the hope that the blood relatives, probably cousins, will see it and contact him. However, he realizes that they are in for a big disappointment when they realize they won’t see a dime.
“The ad elevates expectation, but it's to satisfy a bureaucratic requirement in the US. We were making inquiries on behalf of one of the two Hayes who made a will and it has substantially benefited animal charities.
"They get the residue of the estate. It runs into the millions, and could be three or four million."
Though giving three or four million dollars to animal charities might seem extreme McDonough doubts that any possible members of the Hayes family will manage to contest their wills.
“There are very limited circumstances in which relatives may be able to challenge a will but those circumstances are very rare.
"Challenging a will by someone who is not named in the will is not something you can do unless you're a spouse or a child,” said McDonough.
Finding the family is simply a formality which will get lawyers a grant of probate and allow them to release the estate to the charities.
The Hayes sisters were the last of five siblings none of whom ever married.
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