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Love nets kind villager 500,000 yuan

By MA ZHENHUAN in Hangzhou | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-11-19 09:40
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A selfless villager who looked after an elderly, childless neighbor for almost 30 years-and even paid her nursing home bills-has received a windfall of 500,000 yuan ($75,500) from her estate.

The story of 66-year-old Xu Huiming from Shandong village, Ningbo, Zhejiang province, has touched netizens who agreed he should be rewarded for the kindness he showed the late Su Meiyun.

However, his entitlement to a share of her estate was clouded by the lack of a signed will.

Xu started looking after his neighbor a few years after her husband died in 1988. "My family took her in as a family member," Xu said.

In 2008, Su's house, which had fallen into disrepair, was demolished. She was registered by the village authorities as a person without a home and applied for an 80-square-meter plot of land.

In the meantime, Xu rented accommodation for Su until she was put into a nursing home in 2012.

Hong Qiuguo, Party secretary of Shandong village, said, "Su showed trust in Xu, and Xu was on call at all times when the nursing home had something to tell him about."

Su died in 2016, age 92, and her land application was approved by the village authority a year later. Earlier this year, the land was valued at more than 1 million yuan after it was earmarked for a rural relocation program.

The village committee agreed that Xu deserved Su's estate as he had looked after her for nearly 30 years.

However, the estate could not be transferred to Xu as he was not a legitimate heir and did not have valid legal documentation.

According to Hong, Su had written a will that all her property be bequeathed to Xu upon her death on the condition he took care of her outstanding debts and funeral expenses.

However, neither side signed the document as Xu thought Su had no assets or debts.

Xu followed Hong's advice and took the case to the Jiangbei District People's Court in Ningbo, which recently ruled he was entitled to half Su's estate.

"The rural homestead land applied for by Su should belong to the collective since it is neither inherited nor bequeathed," said Zhang Haijuan, a judge of the court.

"But an appropriate portion of the estate may be given to a person other than the heir, who gave more support to the deceased, according to related laws and regulations."

Xu received 40 sq m of land, the village authority collective 28 sq m and Su's nephew, Su Weiju, 12 sq m.

Xu received his share of the estate on Oct 22.

In order to promote benevolent behavior like Xu's, the amount allocated to the village will be used to buy gifts for the elderly, the Ningbo Evening News reported.

Cai Jingwen contributed to this story.

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