Susan Babbitt said she was ecstatic when lawyers for Mary K. Thomas, an Arizona woman who died recently at the age of 68, contacted her and said the woman had arranged for 27.5 percent of her estate to be donated to the Friends of Collinsville Animal Shelter, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday.
"Can you believe it?" Babbitt said. "We thought we were sitting on top of the world."
Babbitt said she received the check and it quickly cleared the bank, but she was soon contacted by the lawyers and told a mistake had been made.
The lawyers said the money had been meant for the Friends of Collinsville Animal Shelter in Illinois, which has since changed its name to the Warren Billhartz Collinsville Animal Shelter.
"The two animal shelters had the exact same name," said Matt Dana, managing partner at the Dana Law Firm in Scottsdale, Ariz. "That's where the confusion starts in."
Babbitt said she has consulted with her lawyers and determined she has no choice but to return the money.
"I'm going to do it. I am," she said. "Tomorrow."