Nadine opened the mail. Usually there was only junk mail, but today there was a beautifully typed envelop with a logo in the corner:
Ms Nadine Marina, 34 Swafford Rd, Mornington.
It clearly was from a lawyer’s office.
Dear Ms Marina, This is to inform you that your uncle, Ivan Averis, who recently died, has left you his entire fortune of over two and a half million…
Two and a half million! But Nadine didn’t have an uncle called Ivan Averis, and if she did she would have known about his recent death. Clearly there had been some mistake. There must be another Nadine somewhere with a similar family name. Her mother and her father, who were both deceased, would have said if either had a brother – which they didn’t. Her mother had a sister, Aunt Henderika, who had passed away in her mid-twenties at childbirth. Nadine had never known her.
The lawyer’s office was local. Nadine decided to visit and to ask: Who is Uncle Ivan? The lawyer was most helpful. Her uncle had no living relative except you. You may not have heard of him but he clearly had heard of you. To be honest, your uncle’s will is handwritten and the name is a little difficult to decipher. Is it Merino or Moana or Mariana? We could find no one with any of these names. So in the end we settled on your name and concluded that you were the heir to the fortune.
But, said Nadine, I couldn’t in all honesty accept it. I probably would have spent half of it by the time the real person is discovered. So no, I can’t accept it.
Nadine left the lawyer’s office. She felt both sad at her loss and elated at her honesty.
But the truth is she did have an Uncle Ivan Averis. He was the widower of Aunt Henderika and had remarried and long lost contact with family.