Damien on… Insurance Claims
When my Mum passed (two years after my Dad) she left various insurance policies. And the letters I wrote to the various insurance companies to cash them in were all mundane – except for ONE. And I have reproduced most of it here…for your entertainment.
“…The beneficiary of policy number [number] was Ada Roberts, my late mother’s late mother. Unfortunately, the documentation on her is limited. However, while creating our family tree a few years ago, at which time both my parents were still alive, I elicited the following information.
Ada Thirkle was born in London on 17th April, 1890. Her birth certificate, if it ever existed, is long gone. On 27th April, 1923, she gave birth to my mother. The birth was out of wedlock – a big deal in 1923. All we know of the father is that he was older than her, possibly married, that he was a nice man who periodically popped by to deliver gifts and suchlike and who, while my mother was still an infant, went “off to sea” and never returned.
Given the circumstances and time-scale, it is reasonable to assume Ada did not make a will mentioning him – and that he is long dead.
Ada then went “into service” while maintaining my mother. In 1933, Ada met and married Arthur Roberts (born c1880). The marriage certificate has also been lost. On 9th September, 1944, my mother met and married my father.
Just before the wedding, Arthur Roberts legally adopted her in order that she be “legitimised” for the wedding. Arthur died in 1948 (again I have no death certificate, but if he were still alive, he would be around 124 years old by now).
When Arthur died, Ada (who now lived in a rented semi in Watford) took in lodgers. I and my parents used to visit her in the school holidays. But by the early ’70s, Ada, now in her eighties, was finding running a house full of lodgers a little taxing and so gave up the house and moved in with my parents.
She instructed them that when she died, they were to inherit her estate. But since the value of the estate (clothes and nick-nacks) would have been worth less than the cost of making a will…
On 8th of March, 1980, she died. Unfortunately, her death certificate has gone the way of all her other documents, but I do have a certificate of interment from Ipswich Lawn Cemetery (copy included) which is at least suggestive.
After Ada and my parents, my trail of inheritance follows policy number [number]. Although the insured amount is tiny (£13.70p) and the premiums pennies, since they were paid from the policy’s inception on 17th June, 1935 until 12th June, 1989 – allowing for compound interest, the benefits from this policy ought to be in six figures by now. I would appreciate it if you would pay them into my bank, the details…”
The sum was in fact some £600, which was paid promptly, without quibble – and I’ll bet The Pru has FRAMED my letter!