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87-year-old woman discovers she is 'dead'

87-year-old woman discovers she is 'dead'

Published: 29 Mar 2012 14:22 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Mar 2012 14:22 GMT+02:00

An "active" 87-year-old woman was gobsmacked to read a letter from the Swedish tax agency informing her of her own death, forcing her to call the authorities and explain that she was, in fact, alive.

"I'm not taking it as seriously as others are, but there's certainly been a mix-up," the unnamed woman told the local Bohusläningen newpaper.

The letter was addressed to the "estate of the deceased" with the woman's name on it. The letter asked for relatives to fill in the details concerning the woman's address, to be returned to the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket).

"It's clearly shocking when one receives such a letter, but I knew that I certainly was alive, so I wasn't especially worried about it," she said to the paper.

"The person I spoke to said that I must be alive, as I was able to call. She promised to correct the details and write in that I was alive".

A subsequent letter arrived from the agency stating that the morbid mix-up was due to a mistake by a doctor, who had written incorrect birth details a death certificate, resulting in the woman being declared dead on paper.

Relatives of the woman are allegedly angry and upset about the incident.

However, the woman's problems don't end at just having to correct the error.

The mistake has plagued her life – meaning that she is officially recorded as "dead" at any establishment with a record of her details.

When the 87-year-old recently needed to get medicine from the chemist, for example, she was denied her prescription as the chemist's records stated that she was a "non-existing person".

"She saw that I was standing there and that I had my proof of identity with me, so after a while I was allowed to get my medicine anyway. But it dragged out a good while," the woman said.

She has also been forced to contact the social insurance agency and her bank to make sure her pension keeps coming in.

The most pressing question for the woman now, according to the paper, is a moral brainteaser.

Will she need to declare her taxes?

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:52 March 29, 2012 by JulieLou40
What a bloody disgrace. How inept can you get?
15:26 March 29, 2012 by BigDogRex
That's nothing! It got real awkward when the tax agency decided it was too cumbersome to correct its records and chose to resolve the discrepancy through other means...
16:32 March 29, 2012 by Antonito
Welcome back dear lady.

This is your second chance. Enjoy this beautiful life!
16:36 March 29, 2012 by spo10
Skatteverket should have compensated the old lady by doing all those paper works or contacting other agencies themselves - the least they could do.
19:45 March 29, 2012 by foxpur
The old woman, albeit frustrated (rightly so), appears to be taking it pretty well at least.
20:12 March 29, 2012 by CDRoth
OMG! Zombies in Sweden!
20:50 March 29, 2012 by BritVik
Safest thing is to read the obituary column each morning, and if your name is not there, then you can carry on the day with a nice cup of coffee.
07:50 March 30, 2012 by RobinHood
Things to do in Sweden when you are officially dead:

Collect parking tickets with abandon.

Keep a hedgehog as a pet.

Book a tvättstuga time, but not actually use it.

Arrange your own funeral and turn up as a guest.

Never pay another crown in taxes; "you can't sue me, I'm dead".
09:28 March 30, 2012 by I Groncour
It sounds like the beginning of a Kafka novel ... "One morning Mrs K. received a letter from the authorities informing her that she was dead."
09:30 March 30, 2012 by RosemarysBaby80
Wow, I wonder if met God while she was dead....Hahaha! Of course she didn't!

She should have gone on a crime spree. Can't go to jail if you don't exist.
18:56 March 30, 2012 by tadchem
Most people who die suddenly receive the news of their own demise upon arriving in Heaven from Saint Peter.

She obviously did not get to heaven if she's hearing from the tax collectors.
16:01 March 31, 2012 by axiom
Seems like an easy mistake to make if you have a system where you rely too heavily on the personnummer alone.

Doc prob entered the personnummmer, glanced over and clicked ok :D

I met someone who was incorrectly registered as female and kept getting letters for cervical screenings, or something like that
11:21 April 1, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
The old lady concerned must h\ave had an unpleasant experience - particularly with the idea that whatever income she gets, might have been stopped.

I sometimes think I would hate to be in the Swedish health care profession - and have to tell whether someone is alive or dead. I'm less reliably informed that a dead Swedish person has a slight smile on his/her face.....
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