Nelms Cabot was awakened by the phone beside his bed ringing. He checked the clock to find it was mid-afternoon, rolled over and answered.
“To whom am I speaking?” the officious voice on the phone said.
“This is Nelms, who’s this?”
“Are you related to Nelson Cabot?”
“That’s my name. It’s also my uncle’s name.”
“Mr. Cabot, this is Clark Randolph from Bickering Plummet. Your uncle has had an unfortunate incident at work and has been taken to Gwinnett Medical Center. Could you meet me there, please?”
“An unfortunate incident? What does that mean?”
“I’d rather not get into that over the phone, Mr. Cabot. How soon could you get here?”
Nelms checked the clock.
“I guess I could be there in an hour.”
“Very good, Mr. Cabot. I’ll see you then.”
“Is Uncle Nelson all right?”
There was a pause. “We can talk when you get here.”
Nelms entered the bank where his uncle had his primary accounts and approached the account services representative in one of the offices. After introducing himself, he sat in front of the desk, as the representative typed some information into his console.
“Mr. Cabot, yes, so glad you came in today. I see there’s a discrepancy with your checking account.”
“My checking account,” Nelms said.
“Yes sir. It looks like we have incomplete information on you. We’re missing your date of birth and tax ID.”
“Your social,” the manager said. “It looks like the account was opened before the bank was required to record this information.”
Nelms considered the death certificate and estate documents he had in the file in his lap for a moment, then smiled.
“Yes, my social security number. I’ll be happy to supply you with that.”
Nelms took a note pad from the manager’s desk and wrote down his information. The manager nodded and looked at the screen again. “I will need to see your driver’s license, as well.”
“Not a problem,” Nelms said, reaching for his wallet. He removed his license and handed it to the manager.
The manager looked over the license, and then gave Nelms a curious look. “This is odd. The information in our system says the account has been active since 1989. You’d have been rather young at the time, wouldn’t you?”
“Ah, yes. The account was started for me when I was a kid.”
The manager smiled. “Your parents wanted to start you off right, I see.”
“Absolutely. That’s probably why you don’t have my information.”
The manager typed some information into the console. “You might be interested to know we have some great rates on home refinancing currently. Maybe lower your monthly payment. Cash in on your equity.”
“Something to think about.”
The manager typed some more, then said, “That does it. You’re all squared away. Was there something else you needed, Mr. Cabot?”
“Yes. I seem to have lost my bank card. I know I could have called, but since I was in the neighborhood—”
“Not a problem,” the manager said, once again typing into the console. “We’ll cancel yours and have a new one sent to you right away.”
“And while I’m here, I might as well check my balance. Just to see if some items have cleared.”
“I’ll get you a printout, sir.” The manager clicked some more keys, and the printer behind him spit out a sheet of paper. “Here you go.”
The manager handed the sheet of paper to Nelms. The amount on the page almost caused him to fall out of his chair.
“Looks like everything’s in order,” Nelms said.
After discovering the value of having the same name and address as that of his deceased uncle, Nelms decided to take full advantage of it, adding his information to all his uncle’s accounts. Most had been opened at a time when social security numbers weren’t required, so Nelms found most of his uncle’s accounts lacked this information, and he was more than happy to fill in with his own. At the end of several days, the elder Nelson Cabot had slowly morphed into the new one, and Nelms settled back to live off the proceeds of his newly found fortunes.