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Swedish state claims frugal farmer's fortune

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17:54 CET+01:00
An 86-year-old farmer from Umeå managed to amass an 80 million kronor fortune before his death in 2005. Since he did not leave a will and had no immediate family, the money will now go to the Swedish Inheritance Fund, business news website Dina Pengar reports.

The man is said to have lived with his brother on a farm outside the northern town of Umeå his whole life. From the 1930s onwards, following in their father's footsteps, the pair cultivated an interest in the stock market.

During the day they worked the fields before tuning in to the latest business news in the evening.

Soon they began to invest all their money in shares, resulting in a portfolio worth 57 million kronor. With 9 million kronor in the bank, some real estate holdings and woodland, the surviving brother's fortune amounted to 80 million kronor before he passed away in 2005.

But unlike in many other countries there will be no unsuspecting second cousin cashing in on an unknown relative's shrewd investments. As far back as 1928 the Swedish parliament decided to abolish the right of inheritance for cousins and more distant relatives.

Ever since then the property of a deceased person with no spouse or close relatives automatically goes to the Swedish Inheritance Fund, an agency which "supports non-profit organisations and other voluntary associations wishing to test new ideas for developing activities for children, young people and the disabled."

While most estates are spoken for, the Swedish Inheritance Fund receives the accumulated wealth of an average of 600 deceased individuals per year.

"It is very rare to see an inheritance of this size without a will," Stefan Olausson from the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency told Dina Pengar.

Olausson's agency collects and administers the capital held by the Swedish Inheritance Fund.

"Last year we brought in a total of 340 million kronor for the Swedish Inheritance Fund, so of course this is a lot of money for us.

"Maybe the deceased man was one of the few people who actually know what the Swedish Inheritance Fund does. Now the money will at least be put to good use," he said.

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