Posted in Case Histories, For Relatives

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Two years ago, when Susan Cook received a phone call about a possible inheritance, she signed an agreement with Anglia Research and then promptly forgot about it as day-to-day worries took over. In this article, Eileen Butcher reports on a life-changing case.


Photograph of Area Team Leader Eileen ButcherOften when we start work on a case we have very little idea of its value – but this one turned out to be worth £700,000.

The deceased had never married and had no siblings. However, both of his parents came from big families, so there were a lot of stems, and a great many beneficiaries, all with a claim on a share of the estate.

Still, there was one particularly lucky heir: Susan – the only child of an only child – who received a cheque for over £60,000.

“When I first heard about the inheritance, I never imagined it would be so much,” says Susan. “I was really only interested in the family history that might come to light.”

“I knew very little about my father’s side. When he joined the army during WW2, he was posted down South and lost touch with his family. Dad wasn’t much of a one for talking about himself. I didn’t even know my grandmother’s name, and I’d never heard of Dad’s cousin, who was the source of the inheritance.”

All in all there were 18 stems to investigate on the family tree, making this a painstaking and time-consuming case, but when I eventually contacted Susan with news about her share in the inheritance she was overjoyed.

“I still can’t take it in properly,” she says. “I’ve never been a person with a lot of money. I’ve always had to work. But now this has opened up so many doors.”

“I can put money aside for my grandsons. I can help family and friends. I just wish my Dad was still with us to enjoy it too.”

While all cases have their rewards, the ones where you know that your work has helped make someone’s life a little easier, are the ones that stick with you.

(For reasons of confidentiality, names and other identifying features have been altered.)


Useful reading: A past full of secrets, When patience and persistence pay off, Between two families.