By John Ensor •
Published: 31 Jan 2024 • 18:17
Image of last will and testament documents.
After reading his own obituary, Mark Twain famously declared: ‘Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.’ Unfortunately, one man in Galicia recently found himself in a very similar scenario.
Manuel Caamaño Pais from Mazaricos, A Coruña, faced the most bizarre situation. The problem came to light on December 26 when he discovered that over €20,000 had been withdrawn from his bank account.
When Manuel visited an ATM, and was startled to find several unexpected transactions drastically depleting his funds.
Upon enquiry, his bank revealed the shocking details, the state had withdrawn the money, specifically his pension funds, amounting to a staggering €20,180.
Manuel sought answers. At the Social Security office in Corcubion, he was flabbergasted to learn they had listed him as deceased for the past year and a half, precisely since August 2022. This error had led to the withdrawal of his pension money.
The Social Security staff were equally astonished. ‘The official who attended to me put his hands on his head,’ recounts Manuel, highlighting their disbelief and confusion. His journey for a resolution led him from office to office, with his identity and very existence in question.
Manuel, now 79, felt compelled to hire a lawyer to speed up the process. Despite promises of a swift resolution, he lamented, ‘They told me it was immediate but I’m still waiting.’
His re-registration with the town hall and the Civil Registry in Mazaricos, where his death was never recorded, marks a step forward.
Further investigation by Manuel revealed a startling coincidence, which he believes is the root of the mix-up. A person with similar details, differing only in the second surname (Paris instead of Pais), passed away in Muros, A Coruña, on the same date Manuel was erroneously declared dead.
Despite the ordeal, Manuel maintains a positive outlook. ‘There is no choice but to take it with humour,’ he says, hopeful yet adamant about retrieving his money soon.
His story serves as a reminder of the complexities and sometimes absurdities of bureaucratic systems.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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