Every now and then, the news carries stories about people who have kept a relative's death a secret in order to keep collecting benefits paid out to the deceased. The "Coleshill Chronicle" on November 29, 1890, reprinted a story from 1768 describing a man who was probably the world's champion at this particular money-making enterprise.
A woman was buried in St. George's Hanover-square, who had been dead 19 years. The reason of her being so long unburied was, some years ago a near relation of hers died, who left her £25 per ann., as long as she remained upon earth, as expressed in the will: her surviving husband rented a little room over a stable near South Audley-street for £5 per ann. and there she has remained in a very decent coffin all that time. The husband being dead, the landlord of the room wanted to make an alteration, upon which the coffin was discovered. Thus the husband had £20 per ann. for keeping a dead and quiet wife upon earth.
The "very decent coffin" was a nice touch, no?