Tag Archives: inheritance

2498. Inheritance

John-Claude was a widower. He had one child, a son called Peter. His son was the epitome of laziness, but nonetheless John-Claude tried to cheer him (unsuccessfully) into doing some work.

John-Claude’s property was a few acres with a couple of cows and a few goats and a pet pony. The cottage was straight out of a book of fairy-tale illustrations, with a beautiful garden of hollyhocks and petunias and grape vines that ran around the thatched eaves. Things always seemed to be in flower!

John-Claude had a sneaky suspicion that he was on his last legs. He was getting on. “I think I hear an approaching death rattle,” he told his son. Well! Was the son excited or what! He suggested to his father that all should be put in his, the son’s, name. That way, there would be little to worry about when the dreaded moment arrived. John-Claude did that. The house and property was now in Peter’s name. All John-Claude need now do was die.

But he didn’t.

Son Peter was annoyed as anything. He still did no work, but the place was looking nice because John-Claude still laboured hard. In fact the relationship between father and son was more slave to slave owner. Peter made his father sleep out in the garden shed. He didn’t want to be woken with a racket in the early mornings when John-Claude rose to do some work on the property.

John-Claude developed an idea. For years he had been friends with the bank manager. They had been Friday-night drinking companions at the pub for yonks. The bank manager printed off a pretend document. It was a bank statement. It said that John-Clause had eleven million eight hundred and seventy-two dollars and seventeen cents in his account. John-Claude accidentally left it on the dining table.

After that son Peter worked his guts out. He couldn’t have been more helpful, more cheerful, harder working. John-Claude reverted to occasionally pottering in the garden as befits a retired gentleman. The place retained its picture-postcard look thanks to Peter’s back-breaking efforts.

Eventually, when John-Claude died, the fortune-expecting lazy son discovered there was zilch to inherit.

2479. Carolyn’s propensity

Carolyn had every reason to celebrate. She phoned up the most expensive restaurant in town and booked a table for one.

It had taken a few years to achieve her goal, and at last it had happened. Her marriage to widower Clifford was her second marriage. Some thought she had married for money. Clifford was a multi-millionaire, mainly through inheritance from his rich parents. He was much older than Carolyn. She had presumed he would hold on for a few years and then upon his sad demise she would inherit the fortune.  He had very much kept financial control in the marriage, and now… yippee!

For two years Carolyn had replaced Clifford’s blood-thinning pills with placebos. The pills were to prevent a stroke; and now a stroke had happened, and a serious one at that. He hadn’t died but he was rendered unable to help himself. He was put into permanent care. It couldn’t have worked out better for Carolyn; his pension would still come in. It wasn’t enough to live on, but over and above the huge amount of interest from his riches the small government pension was simply the icing on the cake. Carolyn would devote his pension to the purchase of knick-knacks – and dining out.

And what a lovely evening she had! The meal was superb. The restaurant was splendid. The service was exceptional. She would definitely return at a later date. It would be the perfect place to bring Ricardo. Ricardo was a widower. He was a multi-millionaire and much older than Carolyn.

2304. Heiress to a fortune

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.

2201. Great Uncle Frederick’s legacy

Grover was looking forward to his great uncle dying. Great Uncle Frederick had amassed a stupendous fortune over his eighty-two years of living alone. Surely the nieces and nephews were in for a windfall.

News had come through that Great Uncle Frederick had come down with the flu. This was Grover’s opportunity to show his concern. It might be the last opportunity Grover would have to expresses his interest and care to Great Uncle Frederick. Some of the other nieces and nephews could be omitted from the will because Great Uncle Frederick’s memory was inevitably fading. It was not to be the case with Grover. Grover would remind him.

Sadly, Great Uncle Frederick recovered. There was no fortune coming Grover’s way this time, although Great Uncle Frederick did give Grover the flu.

May Grover rest in peace.

2173. The flooded stream

It was such a shock when Granny slipped on a rock while trying to cross a flooded stream. She drowned. And the funeral was sad, sad, sad.

Eion, being one of only two parentless grandchildren, thought he might have got something from the will, but Cousin Marvin got the farm and everything else. Oh well! That’s life!

It was such a shock when Cousin Marvin slipped on a rock while trying to cross a flooded stream. He drowned. And the funeral was sad, sad, sad.

(Footnote: WordPress has said that this is the 8th anniversary of this blog. The United States has declared a public holiday in honour of the occasion).

2169. Alvin’s grandfather’s grandfather clock

Alvin lived with his grandfather. Alvin was nineteen. His parents had died in an accident when he was fifteen, which is why he had spent just over four years living with his grandfather. His grandfather was very kind. The only thing that rattled Alvin’s patience was the persistent chimes of his grandfather’s grandfather clock! The clock ruled the dining room and interrupted all conversation at regular intervals. It had been Alvin’s task to ensure the weights were correctly pulled and the time correctly adjusted.

When grandfather (the man not the clock) died several weeks after a terminal diagnosis, Alvin was left the house and little else in the will. Alvin was surprised. He had always presumed his grandfather was fairly well off, and Alvin was the sole surviving relative. How was he to pay for the funeral? How was he to find money to live? He would have to leave his education behind and find a job. Instantly.

First things first; he needed some money fast. He would sell the grandfather clock. But he would pull the weights and let the clock run its course for the last time; a sort of tribute to grandpa. Alvin opened the clock. Shite and flummox! Knock me down with a feather! Goodness gracious!

Grandpa had a sense of humour! Cunning grandpa!

2148. Rest in peace

When widower Michael died he left in his will (apart from a few practical things) a beautiful recommendation to his five adult children:

Treat one another and care for one another as I would care for you all if I was still alive.

Mona said that since she had looked after their father in the last two months of his life she had full right to get a greater share of their father’s savings.

Colin said that since Preston lived in Australia, apart from the occasional communication, he deserved little in the way of inheritance. He might as well not have existed.

Preston said that on the contrary; he may have lived in Australia but he maintained more contact with his father than a number who lived close by. Inez, for example, lived only ten minutes away from their father and never visited.

Inez said that as far as she was concerned Adele wasn’t entitled to any of the inheritance. We have watched her and her husband squander their life’s savings on drink, and I’m not going to watch father’s well-earned money get flushed down the toilet.

Adele said that she had been her father’s favourite and it was only fair that she should get father’s house. Besides, Mona’s oldest son was in rehab for drug taking. That alone should count Mona out.

Colin said Adele could buy the four-fifths of the house that wasn’t hers; he wanted the car.

Mona reckoned…

Whatever… court cases are pending.

2049. Bernice’s murderous plots

Bernice had spent ages (possibly years) plotting the undetectably best way to murder her brother. You see, their mother was old. And rich. Exceedingly rich. Bernice wanted it all.

Their mother – whose name was Hilda – lived in the most beautiful house on a beautiful hill with a beautiful garden and even more beautiful view. Bernice’s brother – whose name was Jules – had his eyes on the house. “You keep two thirds of the money and I’ll take a third of the money plus the house.” On the surface Bernice agreed, but… Bernice wanted it all.

Things were getting urgent. Hilda was all of fifty-nine – which to younger people seemed old. She still lived alone and managed well, but all it would take would be for an epidemic to sweep the world and she’d be packing her bags for eternity like there was no tomorrow. The urgent murder of Jules would not only cover Bernice in good fortune but would in all likelihood provide enough grief to finish Hilda off.

Jules was unmarried – in fact totally unattached. There would be no spouse or partner or kids challenging Bernice’s windfall. Then Lady Luck stepped in. Jules took ill and died without any prompting whatsoever from Bernice.

Mother Hilda was grief-stricken. But would Hilda die? Oh no! Bernice described her mother as “that old cow who was no good anymore for milking but who wouldn’t kick the bucket.”

Then the worst happened. Oh tragedy of tragedies. Some things are on a par with catastrophic viruses. Widow Hilda got married; this time to a man much younger than herself.

“Is there no justice in the world?” screamed Bernice. “Do I not matter? Under no circumstance will I ever consider that usurper to be any sort of stepfather. Great balls of fire, he’s about my age and riddled with covetous ambition.” She loathed him with a vengeance.

Bernice began to plot.

1794. Peeling potatoes

Caitlin was halfway through peeling the potatoes for dinner when the phone rang. It was Uncle Philip phoning to say that Great Aunt Philomena had died. Caitlin hardly knew her. Once or twice when she was a child her parents had visited Great Aunt Philomena and Caitlin was each time ordered to “behave like a lady”. Even back then Great Aunt Philomena was as proper as one could get, and now she was dead. It was no great shakes. Caitlin went back to peeling the potatoes.

The announcement of Philomena’s death brought back some vivid memories for Caitlin. The spinster aunt would sit in a huge armchair while Caitlin’s parents sat on the sofa and made small talk. Two or three times throughout the visit, Great Aunt Philomena would rise from her chair and grandly announce, “I shall be back shortly. It’s time for a little Coca Cola.” She would depart the room only to return a few minutes later smelling of gin.

Her death was five years ago. Throughout those five years, every time Caitlin peeled potatoes for dinner she thought of Great Aunt Philomena. That phone call had associated Philomena with potato peeling. Forever, it seems. Why can’t I think of something else when I peel potatoes, thought Caitlin? The association remained. There was no escaping it. Great Aunt Philomena and potatoes were inextricably bound. It was an existential annoyance. There was only one thing for it: Caitlin would have to give up peeling potatoes.

Of course, Caitlin peeled the potatoes only to be useful and “ordinary”. She didn’t need to do the peeling. These days one of the scullery maids does it. It helps that Great Aunt Philomena left Caitlin her mansion and all her millions.

1735. Aunt Natalia wasn’t a bad old stick

 

Natalia kept her finances well-hidden. In fact, Natalie’s finances were so well-hidden that everyone presumed she was skint.

It wasn’t until she died that rumours started that possibly she had more than she led people to believe. She lived in a small fairly run-down house which she said in her will was to be sold, and what was left after funeral expenses should go to the Prevention of Cruelty to Cats Society. For the rest, it wasn’t much – not that she had much of a family anyway; just four or five grown-up nieces and nephews. Most each got what amounted to little more than an old piece of furniture or a domestic knick-knack.

Peter was left a dilapidated old writing desk. It was small, scratched, and ugly. In fact, he had nowhere to put it and no use for it. He dropped it off at the Salvation Army’s second-hand store on the way home. They could get a buck or two for it.

Freda was left a little music box that no longer worked. It had a glass ballerina on top that was meant to go around and around in time to the tinkling music. The container was much too big for jewellery. In fact it was a bit of a monstrosity. Dear Old Aunt Natalia! But… goodness! The broken music box was good only for the trash, which is where it ended up.

Darren was left Aunt Natalia’s old pieces of luggage; two battered suitcases. Not only were they empty, but they were extremely cumbersome and heavy. They were deceptively big for the relatively small amount they could hold. Just too, too old-fashion. He chucked them away.

Bryan got nothing other than a mention in the will. In fact the will stated that “Bryan gets a thousand dollars for every time he’s visited or asked after me in the last fifteen years – that is, absolutely zilch.”

Wendy got an old armchair. She actually did take it home. It was the right size for her dog. The dog’s bed was old and worn. This armchair wasn’t much better but it was free and suited the purpose.

So much for Aunt Natalia’s generosity! Yes, she kept her finances well-hidden because there was little to nothing to hide. The nieces and nephews weren’t particularly sad about her passing, although Wendy did say that “Aunt Natalia wasn’t a bad old stick”.

And then Natalia’s dog scratched a tear in the armchair’s upholstery.