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Arlington Board Refunds $51K to Resident's Estate

Officials unsure why man left money to county.

At the end of a series of marathon meetings before its summer recess, the Arlington County Board made an unusual move — that is, to refund more than $51,000 to the estate of a resident who died in 2009.

In his last will and testament, Robert Shaffer Phillips indicated that he would leave a small portion — 5 percent — of his estate to Arlington County. No reason was specified.

The will, signed in 1995, also stipulates that 50 percent of the estate would be given to the American Lung Association in Virginia and 45 percent would go to the Internal Revenue Service "for the purpose of reducing the National Debt."

Arlington County's share, then, was slightly less than $6,400. But a clerical error in the will's execution delivered more than $57,000 to the county in 2011.

The Arlington County Board unanimously approved refunding the balance to Phillips' estate at about 1:20 a.m. Wednesday, as officials wrapped up their last bit of business for July.

"This is a story we don't know the answer to — the story of why the man left us the money," Board Chairwoman Mary Hynes said at the time.

County officials could not recall any other resident leaving Arlington money in the last few years.

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