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All Culture  »  Culture  »  News  |  Oct 22nd 2010

Family celebrates Grandmother’s 90th with inheritance valuation party

Mrs de Flem (right) pictured with daughter-in-law Janette during a break in the assessment

Maureen de Flem celebrated her 90th birthday in style on Sunday, labelling it the “best ever” as her family arrived at her Torteval home with cards, cake and a Miller’s Antiques Price Guide.

“It’s wonderful that we can all be here to celebrate with mum today,” said eldest son David as he tucked a hastily-wrapped gift under his arm and rang the doorbell.

“Since the last family get together the state of the economy has changed drastically, so now is the perfect opportunity to reassess how much of our mortgage we can pay off with her money and whether we’ll be able to squeeze a fortnight in Mauritius out of her death too.”

According to family members, Mrs de Flem – or ‘Grammy’ as she’s known by her 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren – looked “overjoyed but encouragingly frail” as she was presented with a birthday cake decorated with 90 flaming candles.

“We won’t leave until you blow them all out mum – every last one!” joked daughter-in-law Janette, noting with satisfaction how the nonogenerian’s breathing has deteriorated to a feeble wheeze since her 89th last year.

“…we’ll be able to squeeze a fortnight in Mauritius out of her death too.”
David de Flem

Regaining her breath after several minutes, the widow described herself as “very happy” to pass the afternoon watching her children furtively sort all of her possessions into “crap”, “probably crap”, or “flog”.


“She’s got to be worth at least 800 thou,” said son Martin, tucking into a piece of cake and eyeing up the pair of treasured Staffordshire pottery spaniels on the mantlepiece – a wedding gift to Maureen and departed husband Raymond from her own grandmother. “Those tacky dog things must be worth a couple of hundred quid at least,” estimated the father of three.

“Of course – when that terrible, terrible day inevitably arrives – we’ll have to get a proper valuation from an antiques dealer. I hear Le Tocq and Son are good,” he said, fingering the dealer’s business card in his pocket.

“A lot of this stuff is rubbish, though,” said older brother David as he mentally stripped the room and chucked most of Grammy’s belongings into a skip. He calculates a more conservative total of £600,000 for the estate. “But at this rate she’ll outlive us all!” he grinned through gritted teeth.

“You’ve got such fighting spirit,” added brother-in-law Alan, giving the pensioner a floral birthday card and 2 years to live – tops.

Estate Agent daughter Carol said that her family’s behaviour disgusted her. “It’s awful. Especially when they get their calculators out and start valuing the jewellery she’s wearing. Although gold prices have sky-rocketed,” she added, grappling with her love of the old woman and the realisation that the moment her heart stops she’ll turn into an enormous pile of cash.

“This house is so full of happy memories, too. As children we used to spend hours playing in the large, private garden with double garage, sea views and potential for more parking,” she added, scribbling a draft of the property details in her notebook.


The grandchildren were also eager to dote on the senior citizen in the hope of consolidating some preferential last testament treatment.

…the moment her heart stops she’ll turn into an enormous pile of cash.

“I love your earrings, Grammy,” cooed eagle-eyed grandchild Wendy, 24, before forcing herself to peck the pensioner’s wrinkled cheek. “There’s no way I’d be seen dead in them,” she said later of the jewels, which had been passed down through the family from mother to daughter since 1870.

“But you never know, they might pay for a new dress and a piss-up down Laskas.”

Asked how it felt to be entering her 10th decade, the fiercely independent OAP unknowingly summed up the sentiments of the whole family, saying simply, “I can’t believe I made it to 90!”

“It’s wonderful to have my family around me – they are everything to me,” she went on to say, smiling inwardly at the thought of her will which bequeaths everything to her nine cats and instructs her advocate, on reading the last testament, to stand on the table, raise his middle finger at her parasitic offspring and scream ‘Go swivel for it!’ in their faces.

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