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Posted by: Joe Diamond - Monday, June 27th, 2016
Unclaimed estates are those where a person has died without leaving a will or any obvious heirs– in the current age of technology and connectivity it is perhaps surprising that so many people pass away with no immediately evident family or relatives.
An article on the BBC website last year illustrated the consequences of failure to make a will and showed that in addition to property and savings, there are often royalties payable to unclaimed estates:
Thousands of pounds are held in trust by the Bona Vacantia Division of the Government’s Legal Department every year while an heir is sought. Several companies perform services such as those shown in the popular BBC series ‘Heir Hunters’, where professional ‘probate detectives’ try to trace any living relatives of the deceased person.
Many discovered heirs are unaware of their late relative’s existence, and often the programme shows long-lost relatives being reunited or brought together for the first time.
A large number of estates however still remain unclaimed and a list is available on the Government’s website
If you think you may be eligible for a share in an unclaimed estate you need to make a claim to the Bona Vacantia Division – their website has details of all the information and documents you will need to provide in support of your claim, as well as a list of the order of priority of eligible relatives and their descendants.