History Main / UnexpectedInheritance

3rd Apr '17 9:00:31 PM AthenaBlue
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* ''Film/BrewstersMillions'' used this plot.
* ''Film/RunningScared1986''. Detective Costanzo's Aunt Rose dies and leaves him $40,000, which is enough to retire from the police force and buy a bar in Florida.
* The 2001 version of ''Film/Thir13enGhosts'', Cyrus Kriticos bequeaths his nephew Arthur with his beautiful, glass walled house. The bad news? It's [[HauntedHouse haunted by 12 ghosts,]] and [[spoiler:Cyrus is manipulating Arthur into commiting suicide so his master plan to have a ghost-powered oracle machine succeed.]]
* In ''Film/KingRalph'', the '''entire''' royal family dies. Ralph's a ''very'' distant illegitimate relative from America. HilarityEnsues.
* Used twice to introduce new characters in the ''Film/{{Tremors}}'' franchise, in which Jodie and Rosalita each inherit the property of an uncle killed by monsters. The down side is that the property is in Perfection, so both nieces have to move to monster territory to take advantage of the bequest.

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* A variation occurs in ''Film/TheBoyWhoCriedWerewolf''. The family inherits a large house from their uncle in Romania, and it turns out that [[spoiler: he was a werewolf who was using the house do experiments to find a cure for his "disease"]].
%%*
''Film/BrewstersMillions'' used this plot.
* ''Film/RunningScared1986''. Detective Costanzo's Aunt Rose dies and leaves him $40,000, which is enough to retire from the police force and buy a bar in Florida.
* The 2001 version of ''Film/Thir13enGhosts'', Cyrus Kriticos bequeaths his nephew Arthur with his beautiful, glass walled house. The bad news? It's [[HauntedHouse haunted by 12 ghosts,]] and [[spoiler:Cyrus is manipulating Arthur into commiting suicide so his master plan to have a ghost-powered oracle machine succeed.]]
* In ''Film/KingRalph'', the '''entire''' royal family dies. Ralph's a ''very'' distant illegitimate relative from America. HilarityEnsues.
* Used twice to introduce new characters in the ''Film/{{Tremors}}'' franchise, in which Jodie and Rosalita each inherit the property of an uncle killed by monsters. The down side is that the property is in Perfection, so both nieces have to move to monster territory to take advantage of the bequest.
plot.



* The main plot of ''Film/TheGrandBudapestHotel'' is kicked off by one of these, as a priceless painting is bequeathed to the hotel concierge protagonist, angering the actual relatives of the recently deceased countess. A second one comes at the end of the film, where [[spoiler:a second will is revealed giving not just the painting but the entire estate to said concierge, in the event of the countess' death by foul play (as the GenreSavvy countess had suspicions that her family was seeking to hasten their inheritence).]]



* In ''Film/KingRalph'', the '''entire''' royal family dies. Ralph's a ''very'' distant illegitimate relative from America. HilarityEnsues.



* The plot of ''Film/SevenChances'' revolves around a young man who on the day of his 27th birthday, finds out that his dead grandfather has left him $7,000,000 (that's $91,000,000 in today's money), but he [[OnOneCondition has to get married]] by 7pm of that day.
* A variation occurs in ''Film/TheBoyWhoCriedWerewolf''. The family inherits a large house from their uncle in Romania, and it turns out that [[spoiler: he was a werewolf who was using the house do experiments to find a cure for his "disease"]].
* The main plot of ''Film/TheGrandBudapestHotel'' is kicked off by one of these, as a priceless painting is bequeathed to the hotel concierge protagonist, angering the actual relatives of the recently deceased countess. A second one comes at the end of the film, where [[spoiler:a second will is revealed giving not just the painting but the entire estate to said concierge, in the event of the countess' death by foul play (as the GenreSavvy countess had suspicions that her family was seeking to hasten their inheritence).]]

to:

* ''Film/RunningScared1986''. Detective Costanzo's Aunt Rose dies and leaves him $40,000, which is enough to retire from the police force and buy a bar in Florida.
* The plot of ''Film/SevenChances'' revolves around a young man who on the day of his 27th birthday, finds out that his dead grandfather has left him $7,000,000 (that's $91,000,000 in today's money), but he [[OnOneCondition has to get married]] by 7pm of that day.
day.
* A variation occurs in ''Film/TheBoyWhoCriedWerewolf''. The family inherits 2001 version of ''Film/Thir13enGhosts'', Cyrus Kriticos bequeaths his nephew Arthur with his beautiful, glass walled house. The bad news? It's [[HauntedHouse haunted by 12 ghosts,]] and [[spoiler:Cyrus is manipulating Arthur into commiting suicide so his master plan to have a large house from their ghost-powered oracle machine succeed.]]
* Used twice to introduce new characters in the ''Film/{{Tremors}}'' franchise, in which Jodie and Rosalita each inherit the property of an
uncle in Romania, and it turns out killed by monsters. The downside is that [[spoiler: he was a werewolf who was using the house do experiments property is in Perfection, so both nieces have to find a cure for his "disease"]].
* The main plot of ''Film/TheGrandBudapestHotel'' is kicked off by one of these, as a priceless painting is bequeathed
move to the hotel concierge protagonist, angering the actual relatives monster territory to take advantage of the recently deceased countess. A second one comes at the end of the film, where [[spoiler:a second will is revealed giving not just the painting but the entire estate to said concierge, in the event of the countess' death by foul play (as the GenreSavvy countess had suspicions that her family was seeking to hasten their inheritence).]]bequest.



* In the fifth series ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "The Lodger," Craig's previous roommate moved out because he suddenly inherited a large sum of money from an uncle he had never met.

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* In the fifth series ''Series/DoctorWho'' The ColdOpen of one ''Series/BrooklynNineNine'' episode has Jake inherit a million dollars worth of stock. Unfortunately, it was now-worthless Blockbuster Video stock.
* ''{{Series/Cheers}}'' once opened with a lawyer taking Carla aside and informing her that a long lost uncle has passed away. Said uncle went west with his lucky quarter and made a vast fortune which he wanted to share with his family back in Boston. Unfortunately, this wasn't discovered until the death of his son who squandered the fortune on cheap pleasures. Carla is now the proud recipient of her uncle's lucky quarter.
* The ''[[Series/DoctorInTheHouse Doctor at Large]]'' episode "It's the Rich Wot Gets the Pleasure" has GentlemanSnarker Dick Stuart-Clark inherit £50,000 from his wealthy uncle James, and he and two of his fellow doctors get blind drunk in celebration. It is not until they are hauled up before the Board of Directors for their behaviour that he learns the money is not his directly, but is his to donate to the hospital of his choice. He gives it to his employer, St. Swithin's, on the condition that they not be sacked, or even disciplined, for their drunken antics.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E11TheLodger
"The Lodger," Lodger"]], Craig's previous roommate moved out because he suddenly inherited a large sum of money from an uncle he had never met.met. [[spoiler:It turns out that it was the Doctor's doing, via a StableTimeLoop, so he could move in and investigate upstairs.]]



* One episode of ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' had Tony being contacted by the estate of a wealthy relative in England. Thinking this trope is in effect, he spends the entire episode trying to call back, but between work and time zone differences they keep missing each other. Finally in the end it is revealed that the money all went to a closer relative of the deceased, who found among his papers evidence that Tony owed the estate money, and now wants him to pay up.



* The ''[[Series/DoctorInTheHouse Doctor at Large]]'' episode "It's the Rich Wot Gets the Pleasure" has GentlemanSnarker Dick Stuart-Clark inherit £50,000 from his wealthy uncle James, and he and two of his fellow doctors get blind drunk in celebration. It is not until they are hauled up before the Board of Directors for their behaviour that he learns the money is not his directly, but is his to donate to the hospital of his choice. He gives it to his employer, St. Swithin's, on the condition that they not be sacked, or even disciplined, for their drunken antics.
* ''{{Series/Cheers}}'' once opened with a lawyer taking Carla aside and informing her that a long lost uncle has passed away. Said uncle went west with his lucky quarter and made a vast fortune which he wanted to share with his family back in Boston. Unfortunately, this wasn't discovered until the death of his son who squandered the fortune on cheap pleasures. Carla is now the proud recipient of her uncle's lucky quarter.
* The ColdOpen of one ''Series/BrooklynNineNine'' episode has Jake inherit a million dollars worth of stock. Unfortunately, it was now-worthless Blockbuster Video stock.
* One episode of ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' had Tony being contacted by the estate of a wealthy relative in England. Thinking this trope is in effect, he spends the entire episode trying to call back, but between work and time zone differences they keep missing each other. Finally in the end it is revealed that the money all went to a closer relative of the deceased, who found among his papers evidence that Tony owed the estate money, and now wants him to pay up.



* In ''Webcomic/TheSilverEye'', when [[spoiler: Joshua dies and Apen loses his title as king]], Apen's sister April hurriedly gives him the Silver Eye, saying that as an ancient Shephard relic, it should stay in the family, even if he's being banished.

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* In ''Webcomic/TheSilverEye'', when [[spoiler: Joshua [[spoiler:Joshua dies and Apen loses his title as king]], Apen's sister April hurriedly gives him the Silver Eye, saying that as an ancient Shephard relic, it should stay in the family, even if he's being banished.



* In England--as in most countries--if someone dies without making a will ("dies intestate" in legal terminology), their estate goes to their family. If no family can be found, the government gets the lot ("escheat" in legal terminology). There are several firms of investigators who track down family members (in exchange for a cut) of people who died intestate, providing them with an unexpected inheritance (and avoiding escheat). Note that this only works in England and a few other jurisdictions where there's no hard-and-fast rule on how distantly related you can be and still inherit by intestacy; many jurisdictions, including many if not most US states, forbid relatives beyond a certain degree of kinship (typically second-degree kinship: descendants of the person's grandparents) from inheriting by intestacy, preferring that these "laughing heirs" (yes, that is the technical term) not take and instead having the lot escheat to the state.

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* In England--as England -- as in most countries--if countries -- if someone dies without making a will ("dies intestate" in legal terminology), their estate goes to their family. If no family can be found, the government gets the lot ("escheat" in legal terminology). There are several firms of investigators who track down family members (in exchange for a cut) of people who died intestate, providing them with an unexpected inheritance (and avoiding escheat). Note that this only works in England and a few other jurisdictions where there's no hard-and-fast rule on how distantly related you can be and still inherit by intestacy; many jurisdictions, including many if not most US states, forbid relatives beyond a certain degree of kinship (typically second-degree kinship: descendants of the person's grandparents) from inheriting by intestacy, preferring that these "laughing heirs" (yes, that is the technical term) not take and instead having the lot escheat to the state.
3rd Apr '17 7:17:02 PM PaulA
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* In Gerald Durrel's "Rosy is my Relative", Adrian Rookwhistle is bequeathed an unexpected sum of money from a distant relative, with the proviso that he look after Rosy, a circus performer and colleague of the uncle. Rosy turns out to be an alcoholic elephant. Hilarity ensues.

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* In Gerald Durrel's Creator/GeraldDurrell's "Rosy is my Relative", Adrian Rookwhistle is bequeathed an unexpected sum of money from a distant relative, with the proviso that he look after Rosy, a circus performer and colleague of the uncle. Rosy turns out to be an alcoholic elephant. Hilarity ensues.ensues.
* In ''Literature/AShillingForCandles'' by Creator/JosephineTey, destitute Robert Tisdall is astonished to learn that he has been left a significant amount of money and a property in America by a woman he'd met for the first time a few days earlier. The catch is not an intentional one: she's been murdered, and now the police think he did to get his hands on the money...
13th Mar '17 4:55:06 AM Bissek
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Added DiffLines:

* One episode of ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' had Tony being contacted by the estate of a wealthy relative in England. Thinking this trope is in effect, he spends the entire episode trying to call back, but between work and time zone differences they keep missing each other. Finally in the end it is revealed that the money all went to a closer relative of the deceased, who found among his papers evidence that Tony owed the estate money, and now wants him to pay up.
19th Feb '17 9:33:04 AM nombretomado
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* In the [[Literature/AuntDimity Aunt Dimity series]]:
** American Lori Shepherd inherits a fortune and a cottage in England from "AuntDimity", a long-time friend of her late mother's. Lori didn't even realize Dimity was a real person until she learned of the inheritance; she grew up thinking Aunt Dimity was the fictional heroine of the bedtime stories her mother invented.

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* In the [[Literature/AuntDimity Aunt Dimity series]]:
''Literature/AuntDimity'' series:
** American Lori Shepherd inherits a fortune and a cottage in England from "AuntDimity", "Aunt Dimity", a long-time friend of her late mother's. Lori didn't even realize Dimity was a real person until she learned of the inheritance; she grew up thinking Aunt Dimity was the fictional heroine of the bedtime stories her mother invented.
19th Jan '17 5:51:58 AM Morgenthaler
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* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode "The Honking" has Bender inherit a mansion from his Uncle Vladimir. Along with the expected catch that he must spend at least one night there (which he wants to do before complaining about there being a catch).

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* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'':
** The
episode "The Honking" has Bender inherit a mansion from his Uncle Vladimir. Along with the expected catch that he must spend at least one night there (which he wants to do before complaining about there being a catch).



* Fred Flintstone of WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones got two during the original series. First his late Uncle Zeke died and left him a broken down wreck of a hillbilly home called San Cemente.

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* ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'':
**
Fred Flintstone of WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones got two during the original series. First his late Uncle Zeke died and left him a broken down wreck of a hillbilly home called San Cemente.



* One ''RockyAndBullwinkle'' episode had Bullwinkle as the heir to the Earl of Crankcase, requiring him to spend a week inside the family manor before inheriting a 1 million pound note. At the end of the week it turns out that he isn't the rightful heir after all, and the actual heirs learn to their dismay that the note is a ''promissory'' note, and that they are now obliged to repay the late Earl's debts.

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* ''WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle'':
**
One ''RockyAndBullwinkle'' episode had Bullwinkle as the heir to the Earl of Crankcase, requiring him to spend a week inside the family manor before inheriting a 1 million pound note. At the end of the week it turns out that he isn't the rightful heir after all, and the actual heirs learn to their dismay that the note is a ''promissory'' note, and that they are now obliged to repay the late Earl's debts.



* The premise of the short-lived cartoon ''MonsterFarm'' (not Rancher) involved a young man inheriting said farm from a great uncle [[Creator/BorisKarloff Karloff]].

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* The premise of the short-lived cartoon ''MonsterFarm'' ''WesternAnimation/MonsterFarm'' (not Rancher) involved a young man inheriting said farm from a great uncle [[Creator/BorisKarloff Karloff]].
19th Jan '17 5:50:38 AM Morgenthaler
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* The SherlockHolmes story ''The Adventure of the Norwood Builder'' centers around a lawyer who learns he is to receive one the day before his benefactor dies, leading the police to believe that the titular builder was murdered for the inheritance.

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* The SherlockHolmes Franchise/SherlockHolmes story ''The Adventure of the Norwood Builder'' centers around a lawyer who learns he is to receive one the day before his benefactor dies, leading the police to believe that the titular builder was murdered for the inheritance.



* Early on in ''TheCatWho'' series, Qwilleran inherits a huge fortune from his "Aunt Fanny." All Qwill really remembers about her is that she was a dear friend of his mother's and that he was forced to write polite letters to her as a boy, but since she had no surviving blood relatives, he's the one who receives her billions. [[OnOneCondition The catch is]] that he has to live in Moose County for five years, but he grows to enjoy the small-town life fairly quickly.

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* Early on in ''TheCatWho'' ''Literature/TheCatWho'' series, Qwilleran inherits a huge fortune from his "Aunt Fanny." All Qwill really remembers about her is that she was a dear friend of his mother's and that he was forced to write polite letters to her as a boy, but since she had no surviving blood relatives, he's the one who receives her billions. [[OnOneCondition The catch is]] that he has to live in Moose County for five years, but he grows to enjoy the small-town life fairly quickly.



* ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu'' supplement ''The Asylum and Other Tales'', adventure "Black Devil Mountain". A {{PC}} receives a letter informing them that their brother has died and left them some property (which, by sheer coincidence, just happens to have CthulhuMythos activity going on nearby).
* Classic ''{{Traveller}}'' Adventure 12 ''Secret of the Ancients''. One of the {{PC}}s receives an inheritance from an uncle: a statuette which leads the party into a hunt to find an [[{{Precursor}} Ancient]] site.

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* ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu'' supplement ''The Asylum and Other Tales'', adventure "Black Devil Mountain". A {{PC}} receives a letter informing them that their brother has died and left them some property (which, by sheer coincidence, just happens to have CthulhuMythos Franchise/CthulhuMythos activity going on nearby).
* Classic ''{{Traveller}}'' ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}'' Adventure 12 ''Secret of the Ancients''. One of the {{PC}}s receives an inheritance from an uncle: a statuette which leads the party into a hunt to find an [[{{Precursor}} Ancient]] site.



* In ''Series/TheSims2'', Olive Specter, who dies within a few days of first playing her house, leaves her inheritance to her estranged son Nervous Subject and not, as expected, her niece Ophelia Nigmos. This situation is rigged, since normally sims leave more money to those that they have higher relationships with (which in this case is Ophelia). In ''The Sims 3'', this is part of the backstory for the Ivy family, who in their family bio are said to be former hippies who came into money and don't know what to do with it.

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* In ''Series/TheSims2'', ''VideoGame/TheSims2'', Olive Specter, who dies within a few days of first playing her house, leaves her inheritance to her estranged son Nervous Subject and not, as expected, her niece Ophelia Nigmos. This situation is rigged, since normally sims leave more money to those that they have higher relationships with (which in this case is Ophelia). In ''The Sims 3'', this is part of the backstory for the Ivy family, who in their family bio are said to be former hippies who came into money and don't know what to do with it.
22nd Dec '16 11:32:41 AM Homemaderat
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* On ''WesternAnimation/ButchCassidyAndTheSundanceKids'' Wally is notified he has received a castle as one by Mr. Socrates. The Sundance Kids are GenreSavvy enough to think this may just be a set up for yet another spy mission. They stumble upon a caper but in this one rare instance, it wasn't their official job to expose it.



* While this trope is more found in fiction that it does in real life, it is possible in cases where there was a random exception in families of long lines of only children. After all if you are an only child of like four generations and you die but hey your Great-Great-Grandfather had a brother, then perhaps his descendant may end up getting the one of this trope.

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* While this trope is more found in fiction that it does in real life, it is possible in cases where there was a random exception in families of long lines of only children. After all if you are an only child of like four generations and you die an accident wipes out the family but hey your Great-Great-Grandfather had a brother, then perhaps his descendant may end up getting the one of this trope.trope. Assuming of course they live in a place where one of the above laws is not enforced. That being said the odds both will be true is a major reason this trope applies to fiction more than real life, though one could argue that perhaps this trope rose out of people being envious of the very few real life examples of people who got this lucky.
14th Dec '16 9:08:58 AM Feslmogh
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* ''WesternAnimation/{{Looney Tunes}}'' short ''WesternAnimation/{{The Wabbit Who Came to Supper}}'' has Elmer Fudd hunting Buggs when he gets a telegram from his Uncle Louie informing that he will inherit $3 million dollars as long he does not harm any animals, especially rabbits! After Buggs' heckling, Fudd get another telegram saying the Uncle Louie kicked the bucket, but the ''TaxmanTakesTheWinnings'', leaving Elmer owing $1.98.

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* ''WesternAnimation/{{Looney Tunes}}'' short ''WesternAnimation/{{The Wabbit Who Came to Supper}}'' has Elmer Fudd hunting Buggs Bugs when he gets a telegram from his Uncle Louie informing that he will inherit $3 million dollars as long he does not harm any animals, especially rabbits! After Buggs' Bugs' heckling, Fudd get another telegram saying the Uncle Louie kicked the bucket, but the ''TaxmanTakesTheWinnings'', leaving Elmer owing $1.98.
14th Dec '16 9:04:25 AM Feslmogh
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Added DiffLines:

* ''WesternAnimation/{{Looney Tunes}}'' short ''WesternAnimation/{{The Wabbit Who Came to Supper}}'' has Elmer Fudd hunting Buggs when he gets a telegram from his Uncle Louie informing that he will inherit $3 million dollars as long he does not harm any animals, especially rabbits! After Buggs' heckling, Fudd get another telegram saying the Uncle Louie kicked the bucket, but the ''TaxmanTakesTheWinnings'', leaving Elmer owing $1.98.
30th Oct '16 3:39:03 PM nombretomado
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News of a death in the family is rarely well received, especially when its someone who cares very deeply for you. So deeply, in fact, that they have left you with a massive inheritance; but apparently not so much that they ever bother to get to meet you in person. This benevolent but reclusive relative you couldn't pick out of a police lineup (and trust us, this is something of a PlotPoint) is usually an aunt or uncle, grandparent, great aunt or uncle, or related so remotely as to give a team of forensic genealogists weeks of work to find a direct connection.

to:

News of a death in the family is rarely well received, especially when its it's someone who cares very deeply for you. So deeply, in fact, that they have left you with a massive inheritance; but apparently not so much that they ever bother to get to meet you in person. This benevolent but reclusive relative you couldn't pick out of a police lineup (and trust us, this is something of a PlotPoint) is usually an aunt or uncle, grandparent, great aunt or uncle, or related so remotely as to give a team of forensic genealogists weeks of work to find a direct connection.



* In one of the HeraldsOfValdemar books, Myste claims to have come into one of these as an excuse to get away from a group she was infiltrating, knowing that they would never go to the small town where her aged aunt allegedly lived.

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* In one of the HeraldsOfValdemar Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar books, Myste claims to have come into one of these as an excuse to get away from a group she was infiltrating, knowing that they would never go to the small town where her aged aunt allegedly lived.
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