->'''Chester''': ''Where'd you get all that stuff!?''\\
'''Timmy''': ''[[BlatantLies Inheritance?]] [[BadLiar Internet?]] [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs I inherited the internet!]]''
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents''

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.

The inheritance might be wads of cash, a lovely piece of land, and/or a set of family memorabilia. Depending on whether or not your relative was a benevolent AnonymousBenefactor is whether the money is tainted with the blood of innocents, the land contains a HauntedHouse built on an IndianBurialGround, and whether the family memorabilia is something beneficial like an AncestralWeapon or ProtectiveCharm, or a higly cursed EvilWeapon or ArtifactOfDeath.

In the middle of the road, the inheritance may be a SecretLegacy they are duty bound to follow, but which is nonetheless BlessedWithSuck. Sometimes, there's a [[OnOneCondition problematic condition]] you have to fulfill before receiving the inheritance.

One thing that tends to crop up is that the dead relative [[FakingTheDead was alive all along]] and was pretending to be dead in order to pass on their inheritance. In these cases, the inheritor not recognizing their relative may allow them to be in close proximity by wearing little more than a PaperThinDisguise.

This is usually a Beginning Trope. It can also be an Ending Trope if a character had administered a test to see who should receive the money -- or the author decides to pull off a DeusExMachina to solve UnableToSupportAWife or other situation where cash is vital.

Compare PassedOverInheritance and GameBetweenHeirs. In this trope, you do not have to worry about other heirs.
----
!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime And Manga]]
* ''Anime/HanaukyoMaidTai''. Taro Hanaukyo inherits a vast fortune, a mansion, hundreds of maids and the position of family leader after his grandfather retires.
* In a complete inversion, ''PrincessLover'''s Teppei Arima's parents, that he lives with, die and he finds out about his formerly unknown grandfather being the head of the Arima Group, which makes him now the living heir and sets off the plot.
* In the ''LightNovel/ChuunibyouDemoKoiGaShitai'' light novels (not the [[AlternateUniverse anime]]), Rikka supposedly inherited her "evil eye" from her father before he died.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* There was that time {{Spider-Man}}'s aunt inherited a nuclear power plant, making her a target for a supervillain who wanted to get his hands on it.
* There was that time [[MonicasGang Pitheco]] inherited ten million bucks from an uncle (it was unexpected because he didn't know the uncle was wealthy) [[OnOneCondition on the condition]] that he becomes a married man. When he was about to partake in the sacred vows, the executors of the will showed up to tell him that his uncle has secretly married and left a widow and three children. All Pitheco would inherit was the sum of twenty bucks (still on the marriage condition). The marriage was called off, much to Tooga's dismay.
* One ''CarlBarks'' story featured ''DonaldDuck'' learning he was about to inherit one Thousand dollars from a relative he hever heard about before but [[OnOneCondition only if he earns another Thousand]]. That inheritance was a ruse from ''ScroogeMcDuck'', whose sunken yacht Donald offered to salvage for $50,000 but Scrooge wouldn't pay more than $2,000 for the job.
* In an issue of ''Comicbook/TheFlash'', Wally West inherited half the fortune of The Icicle, a rich Golden Age supervillain. He thoroughly disliked his family and felt that the original Flash, Jay Garrick, was the best man he'd ever known, so he arranged that when he died the money would go to whoever was currently the Flash--in this case, Wally, who he'd never even met.
* After Annihulus killed the Johnny Storm in ''Comicbook/FantasticFour'' (he got better), the remaining members invited Comicbook/SpiderMan to the Baxter Building for a private wake. There, Reed Richards showed a portion of Johnny's [[VideoWill holographic will]], in which he gave Spider-Man his most prized possession; his spot on the FF roster.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''BrewstersMillions'' used this plot.
* ''Running Scared'' (1986). 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 ''KingRalph'', the '''entire''' royal family dies. Ralph's a ''very'' distant illegitimate relative from America. HilarityEnsues.
* Used twice to introduce new characters in the ''{{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.
* ''Creator/ElviraMistressOfTheDark'' played with this trope twice. First when Elvira got a message telling her she's got an inheritance from a Grandaunt she never heard about before and second when [[spoiler:she inherited her enemy's/Granduncle's fortune because she was his next of kin and he never made a will.]]
* ''TheHudsuckerProxy'': TheHero inherits controlling interest of Hudsucker Industries from Waring Hudsucker, who willed his shares of the company to whoever became the first person to replace him as the company's CEO.
* ''MrDeeds'': Deeds had no idea his mother had a wealthy uncle before said uncle died. It also applied to Emilio when he learned he's Preston Blake's illegitimate son.
* ''Nickel & Dime'' is a comedy about a "heir tracer" (or "heir hunter"), who makes a living off finding heirs of dead single people. Usually he just picks off a street somebody resembling the deceased. Since the inheritances never exceed $100, he gets away with it. Then he stumbles upon a rich dead criminal and spends the rest of the film searching for his illegitimate child. With IRS on his heels and an accountant tagging along.
* 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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* 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.
** Similarly, ''The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist'' centered around two men seeking to marry Holmes' client because she was the next of kin to a wealthy uncle who had no will, making her the heiress to his fortune by default.
* 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.
* "Mr. Humphreys and His Inheritance" in Creator/MRJames' ''Ghost Stories of an Antiquary''.
* ''Literature/GreatExpectations''. Pip receives inheritance completely out of left field, becomes rich and arrogant, finds out who his benefactor is, squanders money, gets the girl (it is implied at least), becomes less arrogant.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'' receives a huge inheritance from his parents whom he never knew, much less suspected of being filthy rich.
** When [[spoiler:Sirius]] dies, he gets just about everything [[spoiler:Sirius]] owned - including, most surprisingly, the house-elf Kreacher. He really isn't happy with any of this, not least because of [[spoiler: the role Kreacher played in Sirius's death.]]
* 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.
** A whole raft of these are revealed after Miss Beacham's passing in ''Aunt Dimity and the Next of Kin''; among the recipients are not just Lori (who visited her in hospital) and Fr. Bright (whose homeless shelter Lori mentioned to her), but also a nurse who had leftover student debt and several local small business owners in her Oxford neighbourhood.
** In ''Aunt Dimity Down Under'', Lori brings Bree back with her from New Zealand to visit Ruth and Louise Pym before they die, and they have revised their wills to leave their house and a substantial trust fund to Bree.
* Literature/JaneEyre inherits a large sum of money from an unseen uncle (he has been mentioned before but only in passing, since [[spoiler: her abusive aunt/caretaker Sara hid his existance from her until her death]]), though it's towards the end of the story.
* 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.
* The reader/protagonist of interactive book ''TheDandeeDiamondMystery'' didn't expect to be called for the reading of his/her uncle's will since the two of them hadn't seen each other ever since the protagonist was a little kid.
* A common trope in Creator/PGWodehouse's stories; they're often more of a curse than a blessing.
* ''Angel Light'', a novel by Andrew M. Greeley. At the reading of his uncle's will, Patrick "Toby" Tobin learns that he is the heir to an estate worth ten million dollars, but in order to collect he must 1) travel to Ireland, 2) present a letter from his late uncle to a long-estranged distant cousin of the Tobin clan with hopes of ending a long-forgotten family feud and 3) to symbolize the end of the feud, court and marry said cousin's lovely but troubled daughter Sara. And he must complete these three tasks within one month. And Sara is seriously considering becoming a nun. [[OurAngelsAreDifferent And an angel named Raphaella is bound and determined to help Toby to his happy ending.]]
* Michael receives one in Vikram Seth's novel ''Literature/AnEqualMusic''.
* In Creator/RebeccaLickiss's ''Literature/EccentricCircles'', at the will reading, Piper learns she was set up to meet the condition to get the house.
* Literature/JamesBond at the start of ''Literature/RoleOfHonour'' suddenly inherits a quarter million pounds from an Australian uncle he has never heard of. The following spending spree makes him seem suspicious in the eyes of his employers, since coincidentally there has been a couple of Soviets (called "ambulance chasers") hiring double-agents lately.
* 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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action Television]]
* A variation occurs in ''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"]].
* ''Series/BreakingBad'' episode ''[[Recap/BreakingBadS4E10Salud Salud]]'' Subverts this, Skyler gets [[AmoralAttorney Saul]] give [[WhiteCollarCrime Ted Beneke]] money pretending that it's from his "great aunt Birgit" in UsefulNotes/{{Luxembourg}} in order he pay off his tax debt and stop any further investigation by the goverment that might uncover her criminal activities.
* 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.
* ''Series/DowntonAbbey'' gives us an interesting example in series 3. Matthew receives a letter indicating that he was one of three possible heirs named in the will of Reginald Swire--father of his late fiancee Lavinia. The terms of the will were that if the first named heir had died before Mr Swire, then the second one would inherit the whole thing; if the second had also died before Swire, then the third would inherit the fortune. Matthew was the third; the other two are as yet unaccounted for. However, [[spoiler:he feels that he caused Lavinia's death by breaking her heart: she saw him kiss Mary, and she died shortly thereafter of Spanish flu, even though her case until then had been quite tame. As a result, Matthew [[HonorBeforeReason decides he his honour-bound not to take the money]], and hopes that the other heirs are still alive, or at least died after Mr Swire (if they had, the inheritance would go to their heirs). When it turns out that both died before Mr Swire, Matthew [[ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules resolves to give the money away]]. Unfortunately, at just this time [[LandPoor Lord Grantham had lost the entire Crawley family fortune and seemed like he would have to sell Downton]]. This drives the plot for a few episodes, before Matthew discovers information that he feels releases him from his obligation to give the money away; he invests the money in Downton, and his plans for maximising the estate's profits drive much of the plot for the rest of the series.]]
* In an episode of ''MenBehavingBadly'', Gary receives an inheritance of 35,000, which he tries to keep quiet about. Unfortunately, everyone else finds out - Tony, Anthea and George - and everyone wants a slice. His long-suffering girlfriend Dorothy is furious she hasn't been told about this, and she forces him to give it all to a hospital charity near her heart. Gary then compounds his inept crassness by trying to cancel the cheque...
* In the ''Franchise/PerryMason'' episode "The Case of the Lavender Lipstick", Mason's client, suspected of killing her employer (a cosmetics manufacturer), is amazed to learn that he has left her his whole estate, including his business. The reason for this is critical to the case.
* 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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Musical]]
* The early Ahrens and Flaherty (''{{Seussical}}'', ''{{Ragtime}}'') musical ''Lucky Stiff'' has the protagonist inheriting $6 million from an uncle he's never met ([[OnOneCondition on the condition]] that he [[OfCorpseHesAlive takes his uncle's taxidermied corpse on a vacation to the French Riviera]]).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* ''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.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* The plot of the play ''Juno and the Paycock'' revolves around a poor Irish family being suddenly informed of a massive inheritance from a distant cousin, leading to them heavily spending borrowed money in the expectation of paying it back easily. [[spoiler: It turns out that, due to the inexperience of the lawyer, the will is poorly worded, allowing ''dozens'' of distant relatives to stake a claim, rendering it worthless.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The interactive fiction game ''Videogame/{{Anchorhead}}'' has the main character's husband inherit a house as the last living relative of the Verlac family. Unfortunately for them, this is a game inspired by the works of Creator/HPLovecraft, and the Verlacs turn out to have been not just a bit odd...
* In ''VideoGame/AnotherCode'', Ashley receives a package from her father for her 14th Birthday, after assuming he was dead since she was three. It contains the DTS, and a letter asking her to meet him on Blood Edward Island, thus setting off the plot.
* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', when death befalls pretty much anybody you've helped you promptly receive a letter of inheritance from a courier, bequeathing you with anywhere from 100-500 septims, with 10% taken off the top by the Jarl.
* Fairly obscure 1992 SurvivalHorror / VideoGame/EyeOfTheBeholder clone ''The Legacy: Realm of Terror'' starts with protagonists learning they can inherit a haunted house. The backstories of pre-generated characters state that their ancestors lost contact with the rest of the family 150-300 years ago. Thus they are still alive.
* In ''BeTrapped'', May Vandernot, who lived with her mother's family in New York her entire life, inherits her uncle North Vandernot's estate and most of his fortune, which includes the [[ArtifactOfDeath Bloodstone]] (a large, flawless ruby, with a {{curse}}).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web comics]]
* Ben [[http://www.rhjunior.com/GH/00187.html inherits]] several rare and valuable arcade games from his great uncle, which allows him to start ''Webcomic/GoblinHollow''.
* In a story arc of ''CestLaVie'', Mona and Pierre are at first overjoyed to be invited to the reading of the will for their eccentric artist uncle, and are then disgruntled to realise all they've inherited are dozens of his artworks. They set about trying to sell them for a paltry few dollars, and then Uncle appears to Mona in her dreams. They realise that Uncle has hidden thousands of francs in notes inside the lining of the canvases and desperately set about trying to retrieve the paintings they have sold...
* The plot of ''Webcomic/{{Transmission}}'' is kicked off by Russ and Reg's garage in Britain getting foreclosed on, only for an uncle to die and leave them a garage in California.
* The first arc in ''Webcomic/{{Savestate}}'' that isn't based on gaming involves Kade and Nicole inheriting a creepy old mansion from their uncle Sccoby.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''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).
** In the episode "A Fishful of Dollars" Fry is attempting to save Bender from jail by withdrawing his meager savings. He soon figures out 1000 years of interest adds up. A lot. While it is 'unexpected', it wasn't technically inherited.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' features a couple of these:
** In "Selma's Choice" Great-Aunt Gladys dies although nobody inherits anything of any real value beyond Jub-Jub the Iguana. Instead the funeral and will serve more to spoil the trip to Duff Gardens and allow Selma to inherit an increased sense of loneliness and isolation. YAY!
** Played straight with an inversion in "Bart the Fink" when the Simpsons are required to spend the night in a supposedly haunted house (subverting the cliched plot when it turns out to be much more pleasant than their own) in order to collect the vast sum bequeathed to them by Great-Aunt Hortense. Until they find out that they missed the part where they only actually get $100 each while the rest goes to Ann Landers.
* The ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' episode "Peter, Peter Caviar Eater" centers around Lois' Aunt Marguerite dying and the Griffins inheriting her opulant Newport manor. In a mild subversion of the typical plot Lois claims to have been fairly close to her Aunt before her death... she just never bothered to appear on the show or be mentioned in any way before or after.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry short'' "The Million Dollar Cat" has Tom receive a million dollar inheritance from an eccentric old woman, but with the condition that he forfeits the whole thing if he harms another living creature, even a mouse. Jerry takes advantage of this to abuse Tom, stopping the inevitable beating by waving the telegram in his face. In the end Tom has enough and starts beating on Jerry, remarking "Gee, I'm throwing away a million dollars...BUT I'M HAPPY!"
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'' has Ray inheriting a castle in Scotland from a distant relative who he hadn't seen in years. The castle is (of course) haunted.
* One ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDoo'' episode centered around a member of the gang getting an unexpected inheritance worth millions - which turned out to be millions in Confederate currency, which was worthless (clearly they never thought of selling all that Civil War memorabilia to museums or other collectors). This came up again in one of the feature-length episodes.
* 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.
** Another story arc had Bullwinkle inherit a mine from his Uncle Dewlap. The mine turned out to be in a mountain that floated miles overhead, because the mine was the only source of [[{{Unobtanium}} the anti-gravity metal Upsidasium]].
* While not ''strictly'' adhering to the trope (in that the deceased in question isn't a family member, but rather the leader of a rival gang), ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' has one in 'Joker's Millions', in which {{the Joker}}, particularly down on his luck in terms of cash at the time, inherits $250 million from King Barlowe, a crime boss with whom he had shared a mutual hatred. [[spoiler:As it turned out, this was all a big [[ThanatosGambit Thanatos]] / BatmanGambit on Barlowe's side, as $240 million from the fortune was counterfeit, and the [[IntimidatingRevenueService IRS]] was knocking on Joker's door to the tune of around half the total. Barlowe correctly assumed that, by the time he'd gotten around to watching the video will, Joker would already have blown through the $10 million that was real. As such, he'd either have to go to jail for tax evasion, or admit that Barlowe had fooled him (which Barlowe had also known that he would '''never''' do).]]
* One ''PunkinPussAndMushmouse'' episode featured Mushmouse inheriting one million pounds from a British uncle. Punkin Puss spent most of the episode trying to be on his good graces because of the inheritance until he and Mushmouse learned it consisted not of pounds as the British currency but one million pounds of cheese.
* The premise of the short-lived cartoon ''MonsterFarm'' (not Rancher) involved a young man inheriting said farm from a great uncle [[Creator/BorisKarloff Karloff]].
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/FreakyStories'' featured a wealthy man who wasn't on speaking terms with any friend or relative and made a will leaving his fortune to anyone who bothered to attend the funeral. The only person to do it was [[spoiler:an old woman who didn't even know him. She simply needed a bathroom and crashing the funeral was the only option]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In England, if someone dies without making a will, their estate goes to their family. If no family can be found, the government gets the lot. There are several firms of investigators who track down family members (in exchange for a cut), providing them with an unexpected inheritance.
[[/folder]]

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