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Brighton and Hove Independent : Brighton has 230 unclaimed estates, research reveals

Brighton and Hove Independent : Brighton has 230 unclaimed estates, research reveals

Could you be the rightful heir to one of the 230 unclaimed estates in Brighton, left behind by residents with no apparent will?

Finders International published figures this week, showing the estates on the Bona Vacantia list and said if the estates aren’t claimed they are passed to the Crown. When a person dies intestate – with no will – their estate becomes a ‘vacant good’.

Bona Vacantia is the name given to these ownerless estates that are then passed to the Crown. Family members and heirs to these estates have just 12 years to make a claim once it has been reported unclaimed to the Crown.

Danny Curran, star of BBC Heir Hunters and Managing Director of Finders International, said: “These 230 estates are waiting to be claimed from the government, who are sitting on the fortunes of over 10,000 people across the UK.”

Unclaimed Estates in Brighton

Mr Curran said one Brighton estate, that of a Rose Elizabeth Wilcox is still unclaimed on the Bona Vacantia List of unclaimed inheritance, 29 years after her death and will revert to the Crown permanently in January 2018 if it remains unclaimed. In some cases, the Bona Vacantia division will accept claims up to 30 years from the date of death, but no interest is paid. As this goes beyond the normal 12-year limit, there are certain circumstances which need to be met to grant the additional time. Contact a member of our team to learn more about these criteria.

More recently, Michelle Sonia Denton died in Brighton last January and Robert John Martin died in December 2016 are also among the list of Unclaimed Estates, according to Mr Curran.

Bona Vacantia Funding Cuts

In 2014, funding to the Bona Vacantia division was cut so now there is no search for a will prior to posting on the unclaimed estates list. Prior to this, the government would search for a will before listing the estate as ‘ownerless’. Mr Curran claimed this likely explains the increase in the listings, currently standing at over 10,000 nationwide with Brighton’s unclaimed estates accounting for about two per cent of this.

In the last quarter alone, Finders International, a professional probate genealogy firm and stars of BBC Heir Hunters, has been asked to search for a will in a record number of cases with estate values in excess of £10 million.

This marked increase follows the Bona Vacantia division’s weekly publication of over 40 unclaimed estates – without first checking to see if a will exists. Danny Curran said: “Valid wills do exist for approximately one in every five cases currently being advertised by the Government as intestacies. Many relatives are being needlessly traced only to find their expectations are dashed.

“The solution to this escalating problem is simple: The Bona Vacantia division should revert to an inexpensive will search prior to advertising estates. Where valid wills are found, the estate does not need to be advertised. This would also ensure the deceased’s wishes are met.”

He said all individuals should be made aware of the free-to-use Central Probate Registry that can hold your will securely and without charge.

This article was first published in

If you believe you could be entitled to Unclaimed Estates in Brighton or other areas in the UK, discuss the legitimacy of your claim with a member of the Bona Vacantia team.