Wednesday, 26 July 2017

An inheritance

is a strange thing, especially if it comes from someone you don't know.
I think I mentioned a problem we had some time ago. We had been told by the Public Trustee that a first cousin of my late mother had died. He died intestate - hardly surprising as he was severely intellectually retarded and a trust fund managed his affairs. The Public Trustee officer was looking for his surviving relatives. 
The law does not allow, as we would have liked, the money simply to be given to the institution which cared for him. 
We didn't know this man. We honestly believed he had died many years before.  I am still appalled to think  that he must have had no family visits at all. It seems this is what his parents must have wanted. Why? 
Middle Cat and I both agree we could have visited, taken him out for a treat, had him for Christmas, remembered his birthday. We just didn't know. We had no reason to believe he was still alive - just the opposite in fact. 
When we heard nothing more from the Public Trustee we assumed that any remaining money had been used up in the costs of administering it. We certainly weren't going to look avaricious by pursuing the matter.
Yesterday I had a letter. At first glance it looked like one of those companies that claim to be able to obtain an inheritance - and who have no legitimacy at all. But, being a cautious cat, I checked. If there was money there could it go to the institution?
The letter appears to be legitimate. There is information there that only a legitimate business could know. I sent an email message - and received more information.
Some of that information relates to yet another "second cousin". She was the youngest of my mother's cousins - my age rather than my mother's age. We actually went to teacher training college together although I had very little to do with her there. She was doing a different course and our paths didn't cross in classes. I didn't see her or have contact with her after she left. Now there is a search for her.
The Senior Cat looked at all this and shook his head. His family has an entire, very well documented family history. The remaining cousins of his generation are still in contact with each other. Their children don't have quite so much contact but we know about one another and our activities. It is an entirely different sort of family. I had to sit there and think about my maternal grandfather's siblings. Who were they? I can't remember the order in which they came. I have very little idea  about their children - my mother's cousins. She almost never saw them. 
The Senior Cat finds this genuinely hard to understand. For him, family is everything - and his cousins appear to feel the same way. 
I  wonder what the other potential recipients of tiny "inheritances" feel about the cousin they didn't know. I know what I am going to do and I know what my siblings are going to do. I hope it will bring some other person who never has visitors some pleasure. 

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