Meg and her older sister, Michelle, were inseparable. Close in age, they were not just sisters but more like soul mates and best friends.
Meg and Michelle never knew their father and their mother was taken early by cancer. They faced the world alone in their early twenties, but they had each other. To Meg, that seemed more than enough.
Last year was a terrible year. Michelle moved in with her creepy boyfriend, Louis. The creep had a roving eye and wandering hands, which Michelle soon discovered. They broke up after just 6 weeks, but Meg’s joy at having her sister back living with her again soon turned tragically to dismay and denial when Michelle came down with the same cancer that had taken their mum.
Michelle’s battle with cancer was one series of horrible treatments after another. Meg was with her more in hospital wards than at home during that losing battle. Meg decided that Louis was less of a creep than she had thought during those terrible months. He often visited Michelle in hospital and towards the end, he and Meg together spent lots of time by Michelle’s bedside. Meg watched on helplessly as her beautiful sister’s life ebbed away until, one cold morning at 2.15am, she finally stopped breathing forever.
Louis remained supportive. He took care of the funeral arrangements and paid for them himself. He took charge of sorting Michelle’s stuff and took most of it away to sell. Meg told him to keep the money but he insisted on handing over the few hundred dollars. Louis then drifted out of the picture and left Meg alone to grieve.
Some six months later, Meg received the strangest letter from Michelle’s work Super Fund. It turned out that Michelle’s small fund of contributions from her work was bolstered (unbelievably) by the attached life insurance policy making the total over a million dollars and Meg was the nominated beneficiary.
Meg got around to filling out the complicated claim forms with the help of the Super Fund people. She planned to use the first of the money on a proper gravestone. But she revisited the gravesite for the first time since the funeral – only to find that Louis had already had a gravestone made. Unbelievably, it named Louis as Michelle’s husband.
The Cemetery people told her she had no rights over the plot, which was owned by Louis !! This led to Meg obtaining a copy of the death certificate, which also named Louis as her husband. The Government people there told her she could not change the death certificate without going to Court, so she contacted a lawyer. She was astounded at the legal fees quoted but was determined to spend as much of the Super Fund money as necessary to put things right.
And then came the letter from the Super Fund saying that, although she was the nominated beneficiary, they had to pay the entire amount to Louis as husband and next of kin !!! Meg rang to explain that this was all a lie, only to discover that Louis had organised statutory declarations from his soccer mates and his family saying that Louis was in fact Michelle’s de facto husband at the date of her death. The bastard had even kept some of the clothes he was supposed to sell and there was a photograph of her clothes hanging in his wardrobe date stamped after Michelle’s death.
Meg talked to lots of people. The police told her it was a civil matter and they could not help. She spoke to more lawyers who offered to help but wanted money she did not have. She finally spoke to her local MP who suggested she look for a litigation lender.
If the fictitious Meg had brought her story to Holmes Robane Finance, her astonishing claim would have been rigorously tested by one of our groups of lawyers. If sufficient independent evidence was found, funding would have followed.
There are always risks in litigation but, all going well, Meg would have defeated this elaborate fraud and Louis would likely be facing criminal charges.
This is a sample case we have supplied to our litigation funding partners and features on one of their websites