Tag Archives: inheritance

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.

1449. Dried herbs

Aunt Sylvia was well-off. Everyone knew that but only Aunt Sylvia knew by how much.

She was a spinster and lived alone with a few simple interests to occupy her time. Her main interest was growing herbs. She didn’t have a huge back yard, but every square inch of it was used for growing her precious herbs. Then she would dry them, bottle them up, and give them away as gifts.

Every year her niece, Penny, got the same Christmas present: a collection of a dozen or so delightful dried herbs tastefully presented in diminutive pots. At least, Aunt Sylvia thought things were “delightful”. Niece Penny didn’t think much of them at all.

“Quite frankly,” said Penny into her cell phone, “you’d think she would have better things to do with her money. More dried up stuff this Christmas. I usually throw them away. Basically, we’re waiting for her to die so as to get our hands on the inheritance.”

Several months later, Sylvia died. Penny was beside herself with excitement. And indeed, she had every reason to be excited, for Aunt Sylvia had left Penny her entire fortune. The will said: “Give the lot to my dear niece Penny, now that, at last, I’m dead.” So Penny got the whole seventeen dollars and forty-two cents – after funeral expenses. There was no bank account teeming with loot, for several months earlier Aunt Sylvia had donated it all to the Horticultural Society.

1081. Lost the will

Vvivia’s parents had been rather creative when naming their daughter, and when she was all grown-up it was clear that Vvivia had inherited a great deal of their creativity.

Vvivia was widowed when rather young, and her departed spouse, who had been a lot older, left her a considerable sum. It was not long before Vvivia recovered and remarried. Again she married an older widower. His name was George Stenton.

The first thing George did was to rewrite his will, leaving all to his new wife. A few months after the wedding Vvivia left George; a no good husband; absolutely no good; not what she was expecting. George rewrote his will again, leaving everything to his sons and daughters from his first marriage.

Not long after, George died. There had, according to Vvivia, been a reconciliation.

I, Vvivia Stenton, swear that since the death of my husband, George Stenton, I have had access to his papers and repositories and I have searched diligently therein for any will or testamentary writing made or signed by the said deceased and that I have been unable to find any such will or testamentary writing. I do verily believe that the said deceased died intestate and that I am his widow.

Vvivia went on to marry again, in fact, several times. She was able to comfortably retire from pursuing her hobby by the age of thirty-seven.

1036. The late Aunt Hilda

I really am terribly excited! My husband’s old aunt has just died. Aunt Hilda. She was such a grouchy old bag. I couldn’t stand her. Every Sunday we would have to visit. We didn’t want to get left out of the will, and she was so rich. Unbelievably rich! But goodness! How to ruin a Sunday! In fact, how to ruin an entire week.

I didn’t bother going to the funeral. Why should I? Goodness knows I had visited her often enough. Missing out on her pre-cremation celebration was a pleasure. And then, later that same day, the will was read. Forty three million! Can you imagine? Forty three million! The things I’ll be able to do! In retrospect, it was worth putting up with her blue rinse every Sunday. You’ve no idea the relief now she’s kicked the bucket.

I’m going to start with a new car. And a new house. Not just a house, as you can imagine. More of a manor.

The only thing I have to do, and rather quickly, is to stop my husband from opening his email. He doesn’t open his email that often. I don’t want him to see the message I asked my divorce lawyer to send last week.

986. Moira’s cousin, Clive

986moira

Clive’s cousin, Moira, died and left him eleven million.

Moira had lived alone all her life, and to all intents and purposes, Clive was her closest living relative; “closest” in the sense of blood, rather than “closest” in the sense of emotional attachment. Moira was thirteen years younger than Clive and they had never been close.

Moira had quite simply got all her money from her father. Poor old Clive was the nephew and never got a thing. He barely had two pennies to rub together.

And then Moira upped and died.

She upped and died! Upped and died! Silly old Moira upped and died at one o’clock in the morning.

And about time too! Clive had waited to get his hands on her millions for years. And at last! At last!

It was so annoying when two days later the doctor gave Clive his marching orders.

556. Inheritance

556inheritance

Christine and Ernie’s two grown-up kids were furious.

For many years after their marriage, Christine and Ernie had scrimped and saved. They brought up their two children, and managed to save enough money to purchase the place of their dreams. It was a lovely house on several acres of land. A life-style property. On it they had a vegetable and flower garden, two donkeys (which they lent out to the local church every Christmas for a parade), and half a dozen sheep.

Then for years they had the mortgage to go with it. Ernie worked for the railways as a welder, and Christine cleaned the classrooms at the local school. But at last everything was paid off, and the children had flown the nest. Christine and Ernie continued to work, but it was time to enjoy their lifestyle. And enjoy it they did! For about ten years.

Then, sadly, Ernie passed away after a short illness.

Christine tidied the place up and sold it for a pretty penny. She bought a cheaper place “in town”. It still had a pretty garden, but didn’t carry the responsibility of looking after animals and keeping a large property up to scratch.

Then Christine got the travel bug. She travelled to France, to Spain, to Germany. She visited North America.

“Mum, you’re spending too much money,” said her two grown-up kids.

“It’s my money,” she said.

“It’s our money too, when you go,” said the kids.

Christine did die in the end. There was no money left.

Christine and Ernie’s two grown-up kids were furious.

220. Deaf and dying

220deaf

Padraic had emigrated from Ireland about seventy years ago. He had made an astronomical fortune in his new country. Now he was in his nineties and dying in a hospital bed. He had no direct descendants, but had nieces and nephews.

He was visited by a great niece, Peyton. She was in her thirties.

“Can he hear?” asked Peyton of the nurse.

“He can’t hear a thing,” said the nurse. “He’s not only unconscious; he’s as deaf as a post.”

“Let me say one thing,” said Peyton, speaking towards Padraic’s deaf ears. “You are a selfish shitbox. We can’t wait for you to die. We want the money. Ha! Ha! Ha! I’ve already put a deposit on a new house, so hurry up and kick the bucket, you fuckwitted-money-grabbing scumsucker.”

Just then the priest arrived.

“Can he hear?” asked the priest of Peyton.

“Not a damn thing,” said Peyton.

The priest gave Padraic a blessing. Padraic made the sign of the cross.

Padraic never fully recovered. Just enough to change his will.