After decades of living by herself in Serbia after leaving her husband in Australia to care for her ailing mother, 86-year-old Marija Zlatic inherits A$940,000 ($703,000) from him yet instead of enjoying her newfound wealth, she donates it to her neighbors instead!
In 1956, Marija and husband Momcilo moved from Serbia to Guildford, Western Australia. While Momcilo worked in a factory as a carpenter, Marija was content in her life as a housewife.
Only 18 months after they arrived in Australia, however, Marija was called back home to care for her ailing mother. The arrangement had, at first, been temporary and the couple communicated via letters. But when her mother died, Marija was not able to go back to Australia for unknown reasons.
They continued their correspondence for some years before the communication waned and the two had effectively become estranged from one another. Momcilo would eventually re-marry but the fate of his second wife is unknown. Perhaps she died before him or they divorced because when Momcilo died, his estates and money did not go to the second wife – and it took over 4 years before these went to the hands of Marija!
Now, Marija had been living off a pension of $100 a month as a dual Australian citizen. Living a hermit life in Serbia, she found the money enough for her needs. Neighbors would come to help out with things that needed fixing or would help chop wood for her to use. In short, the community took care of her.
When word came that Momcilo had gotten wealthy and owns cattle ranches, Marija did not really believe it. Then, he was rumored to have died sometime in 2011.
She would later asked a neighbor (identified only as M) to search for information about Momcilo, promising her 30% of whatever money she might find. Though M only found dead ends at the embassies she visited, she eventually found out from lawyers that Momcilo had, indeed, died. They would also learn that Momcilo had, in fact, gotten wealthy as the rumors indicated.
Still, it would take over 4 years before Momcilo’s wealth (A$941,512.58) was finally given to Marija. But with the wealth already in her hands, Marija surprised the community when she gave them everything she inherited from her husband.
When asked why she did it, Marija simply replied, “Where I am going soon I do not need money, so I gave it away. They need it more.”