Manners & Misdemeanors
Battling Over Inheritance: Inside the Truly Rich Lady's World
How to deal with scheming and plotting relatives.
IMAGE COLLAGE SANDY ARANAS
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When it comes to estate battles, unscrupulous maneuverings happen even before the body gets cold–especially so in the Truly Rich World.

The faithful housekeeper will make a clandestine call to the head of Rival Family Faction about the worsening condition of Macadamia Madam (the fortune is built on nuts and is nuts!). “Ser, da weesing n da caffing is now lawd.”

The head of Rival Family Faction will then alert his team of lawyers to execute The Plan, which is the long-planned plan to install him as heir to all things nuts.

He has no clue that Macadamia Jr. has already launched countermaneuvers, emptying multiple bank accounts and transferring properties to his name.

In the background, Pretty Daughter and Smart Daughter are each making a mental inventory of all the fabulous jewelry they must get their hands on. And of course, Estranged Daughter, who has been tipped off by another member of the staff, is making her way from South America to make sure she gets her fair share (and more).

Seeking to head off the foreign relation, Pretty and Smart come to an agreement about the division of assets: Pretty gets the Serpenti, two diamonds sets, and half the loose stones. Smart gets the fringe brooch, a minor jade bracelet, one diamond set, and half the loose stones. Estranged will be left with turquoise and Tiffanys. “Let’s just say Mom sold everything!”

Then come the Wailers. They line their lashes with the very worst mascara so that come wailing time (read: all the time), streaks of black tears will show their surely authentic despair. “How long have I been away?!” “What a fool have I’ve been for leaving?!” “Why did I never visit?!” “Where’s the food?!” No one knows from which droopy tentacle of the family tree these people come from. And when family members ask who they are, they beat their chests and fall to the floor.

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Things get dirtier and dirtier. An Aggressive Sister bullies the wheezing and coughing Madam into signing an agreement. “If you don’t sign this paper, I will give away your precious calico cat when you’re dead and gone!” The poor old thing can’t move her arms, so she just wheezes and coughs some more.

Elsewhere, to weaken Junior’s claim on the money, Rival Faction sues Junior about his misuse of Nutty Corp’s funds, which is kind of true because he did use the company jet for personal trips. Junior retaliates by leaking the most embarrassing secret of his rival: a large and creepy collection of 18th-century dolls.

But the last laugh belongs to Macadamia Madam because, actually, there is not a lot of money to give! The mega fortune of the Madam has dwindled through the years, and the little (though still very considerable) assets she has left will be bequeathed to various charities and Cayetana, the Quiet One.

An excerpt from the Madam’s video letter to her family: “To My Dearest Cayetana, because you never asked nor begged for money, but only requested—and very respectfully I might add—to care for my collection of amateur bird illustrations, I leave you the bulk of private fortune. Live and love happily” 

“To the rest of you fools, I know you have been scheming and plotting to get to my nutty fortune ever since I broke my hip! And I am sure you have badgered me to the very end, asking—and even demanding—that I leave you with this and that and, most especially, all the expensive things. But don’t worry about Nutty Corp for I have tied it up neatly so that it now has a life of its own beyond anyone’s sole control.”

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"You will also not get more paintings, vases, boats, or cars just because you are older or cried the loudest or badgered me the most. I will give you all as I see fit. And so please accept these gifts from the bottom of my nutty heart.” 

Out comes a tray with little orange boxes tied up in perfect brown bows. And when each member of the family opens it, they are faced with something small: seeds and a note: “Grow your own fortune.”

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C.C. Coo
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