Exactly what the definition of a “friend” is may vary from person to person. Most individuals would say that you can’t be friends with someone that you have never met (Manti Te’o and Lennay Kekua notwithstanding).
Whatever your opinions on the matter may be, a man who passed away in Illinois last summer left behind everything that he owned to a pair of individuals that he considered to be his friends though he had never met them in person.
He did see them frequently on the television screen however. The man, Ray Fulk, left an estate valued at around $1 million to actors Kevin Brophy and Peter Barton.
Fulk was a rather eccentric fellow, in possession of considerable resources but content to live in a farmhouse without any running water. He reportedly bathed in a creek on the land that he owned and simply went without this “luxury” when the creek was frozen.
He told his estate planning attorney that Brophy and Barton were his friends and that he had no close family or children. As a result he wanted to make them the heirs to his estate.
After going through his papers the attorney discovered the fact that Fulk had sent letters to the two actors and they had been kind enough to respond. This is apparently the extent of the “friendships.”
The only other inheritance that he left was a donation of $5000 that he wanted to pass along to the Anti-Cruelty Society, a Chicago area humane society dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals.
As long as you are of sound mind whether you are a bit eccentric or not you have the right to plan your estate in any way that you see fit, and Ray Fulk certainly exercised that right.