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Unclaimed Estates in Leeds

Unclaimed Estates in Leeds


Yorkshire's Unclaimed Inheritance

The estates left unclaimed are from people who have died intestate - having no will at the time of their death. All of the 470 estates found have a connection to Leeds either in their life or at the time of their death.

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

The estate of John Trevor Holmes, born in October 1939 who died in Guiseley, was added to the bona vacantia list last month. And the estate of John Sommerville is still unclaimed 29 years after his death on October 10, 1998, and will revert to the Crown permanently in September 2019 if it remains unclaimed. More recently David Philips Larking, 60, died in Leeds West Riding in June and Julian Byer Whitaker, 89, who died in March 2018 are also among the list of unclaimed estates. Currently, surnames on the list from Leeds include Armstrong, Baker, Biggs, Wright and many others. View all Unclaimed Estates in Leeds.

When a person dies intestate, their estate becomes Bona Vacantia, translated as 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 any inheritance, have just 12 years to claim an estate once it has been reported to the Crown.

Back in 2014, Government funding of the Bona Vacantia Division was reduced, meaning there is no longer a search for a will before an estate is published to the Bona Vacantia List.

Prior to this, the Bona Vacantia Division would search for a will or relative before listing the estate as ‘ownerless’. Mr Curran says that this might explain the increase in the listings of Unclaimed Estates since with the current standing at around 9,000 cases nationwide. Unclaimed Estates in Leeds currently account for around 5% of the total list.  

Probate Genealogists

Valid wills are in existence for one in five cases currently listed on the Unclaimed Estates list according to Mr Curran. With the volume being added to the list each week, it is becoming harder to locate entitled relatives.In the last quarter of 2018, Finders International, a leading probate genealogy firm 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 weekly publication of over 40 documented unclaimed estates by the Bona Vacantia Division. All of these are posted without first checking for a will.

All members of the public are entitled to use the free to access Bona Vacantia List provided on this site. With the increasing volume of cases added to the estate each month, it is becoming more likely a relative of yours could be one of the published names. If you believe you are the entitled relative to an unclaimed estate contact a member of our probate genealogy team who will investigate the legitimacy of your claim.

This article was originally posted in the Yorkshire Evening Post