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Shanghai Domestic Helper Takes on Battle of Wills
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A Shanghai domestic helper honored for her loyalty has taken the children of her former employers to court claiming she was promised 110,000 yuan (US$13,750) in an oral will.

Zhou Yuxiang, 43, was selected in 2004 as a candidate for a national good-deeds award for looking after an elderly couple in the district for 11 years without a break. She earned just 300 yuan a month.

However, the couple, also surnamed Zhou but no relation, died earlier this year and yesterday ZhouYuxiang, the ayi told Changning District People's Court her former boss, Old Zhou, gave her an oral promise of money for her hard work.

The court heard the promise was witnessed by the brother of Old Zhou and his brother's son, who testified in court.

A written version of the promise was also shown. It was written by Old Zhou's brother, but not signed.

Zhou Yuxiang told the court Old Zhou's wife died in January this year and Old Zhou died on March 5. She said after Old Zhou died his son and daughter took away all his money and belongings.

The court also heard that the son and daughter seldom visited their parents when they were alive and did not look after them.

"During the hearing when we asked when the old couple died, daughter Zhou Hong couldn't answer and had to turn to her notebook for help," said Jin Wenbin, a court official.

However, Jin said Zhou Yuxiang was unlikely to win her case because the written and oral wills were not admissible as evidence.

(Shanghai Daily March 26, 2007)

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