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Daily Echo : Could you be missing out on unclaimed inheritance? 160 estates in Bournemouth currently sit without an owner

Daily Echo : Could you be missing out on unclaimed inheritance? 160 estates in Bournemouth currently sit without an owner

Unclaimed Estates in Bournemouth 

There are currently more than 150 unclaimed estates throughout Bournemouth – including one dating all the way back to 1988.

160 separate cases have been left by people dying without leaving a will in the Bournemouth area according to new research published by Finders International - a leading genealogy firm in London. The cases come from individuals who have died "intestate" meaning they have not left a will. 

When a person dies intestate, their belongings become "Bona Vacantia" which translates from Latin to mean vacant goods. Every unclaimed estate is added to a central registry called the Bona Vacantia List. 

Family members of the deceased have just 12 years to make a claim on an estate once it has been reported unclaimed to the Crown.

Managing Director of Finders International, Danny Curran said: “These 160 estates are waiting to be claimed from the government, who are sitting on the fortunes of over ten thousand people across the UK.”


Can a Rightful Heir Be Found?

One of the Unclaimed Estates in Bournemouth has remained unclaimed for 29 years dating back to 1988. The estate of Richard Francis Cook will permanently revert to the crown in June 2018 if no rightful heir can be found. 

Recent unclaimed estates to occur in the Bournemouth area include Peter John Shephard who died in Bournemouth in May and Douglas John Kelsey who died in September 2016. 

Following a funding cut in 2014, there is now no hunt for a will before an estate is posted to the Bona Vacantia List. Pre 2014, the government would search for a will before listing the estate and its contents ownerless. 

Mr Curran explains how this has caused the increase in the volume of listings on the Bona Vacantia List which currently stands at 10,204 nationwide with Bournemouth’s unclaimed estates accounting for just under two percent of this. In the last quarter alone, Finders International, have been asked to search for a Will in a record number of unclaimed estate with total values in excess of £10 million.

“Valid wills do exist for approximately one in every five cases currently being advertised by the Government as intestacies,” Mr Curran added.

“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.”

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