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Unclaimed Property on the Bona Vacantia List

Unclaimed Property on the Bona Vacantia List

Unclaimed property as a result of an unclaimed estate is quickly becoming an issue to local authorities and councils across the UK.

According to the Governments legal website, if an asset becomes Bona Vacantia or “vacant good” it automatically becomes the property of the crown as no relative can be found.

An Unclaimed Estate or Bona Vacantia case occurs when a person dies without leaving a will to dictate the division of their assets and there is no know living relative to inherit the estate. The assets can include anything owned by the deceased at the time of their death, ranging through property, bank accounts, physical belongings, intellectual property and more. Find more information on how to find an unclaimed estate in our guide. 

What happens to Unclaimed Property in the UK?

In a recent investigation by Finders International - a leader in probate genealogy - they found local councils are being left to deal with the effects of ownerless property across the country. As any property from an unclaimed estate reverts to the crown it becomes the responsibility of local authorities to maintain. Responsibility for such property includes any repair work and the cost of insurance for the property amongst other factors. 

This comes as an addition to already stretched local authority budgets and spending, adding another significant cost for a long list which needs to be covered on cut back allowances.

According to Danny Curran - Managing Director of Finders - the period of inactivity by the Government’s Legal Department appears to be expanding over recent years with some councils having responsibility for ownerless property stretching beyond two years!

As the list of unclaimed inheritance grows in the UK, we are likely to see more cases of the unclaimed and ownerless property becoming a burden to local councils across the UK.

Mr Curran claims: “one out of every three local councils in England currently has at least one unclaimed property case at any given time.”

There are numerous cases of this across the United Kingdom with Harrow Council reporting one incident of an Unclaimed Estate dating back to November 2016. They report being in control of a property worth in excess of £600,000 for over two years while it remains unclaimed.

Ms Subotic, Client Finance POP officer at Harrow Council, says: The current wait time for the Bona Vacantia’s administration of a deceased’s estate is unreasonable, costing our local authority in excess of £3,000 a year.’

Norwich Council also reported a similar case where a house valued at £160,000 has become council maintained for almost two years due to no action from the Bona Vacantia Division.

It is possible you could be entitled to an unclaimed estate including an ownerless property currently maintained by a local council. A quick search of the Bona Vacantia List could return some surprising results.

Article originally posted at Local Gov.