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What Are Unclaimed Estates

What Are Unclaimed Estates


An Unclaimed Estate is the property and assets of a person who has died without leaving a will.  This individual also appears to have no next of kin or immediate family to take ownership of their estate and affairs. As no heir to the estate is easily found, the estate will eventually pass to the Crown.

Estates and unclaimed inheritance can comprise of property, assets belonging to the deceased such as bank accounts, stocks and shares. Bona Vacantia items can also include personal items such as jewellery, paintings and furniture, intellectual property and more.

Bona Vacantia List of Unclaimed Estates

Unclaimed Estates in England and Wales are often listed on the Government’s Bona Vacantia list, with cases often listed for years before an entitled relative can be traced and the legitimacy of their claim proven.

In most cases, though, the rightful heirs are out there. They might not be closely related—or even know of the deceased—but there are almost always family members who can be traced, and can find themselves the unexpected recipients of an estate.

Sometimes, this money can be life-changing; more often than not, it’s a nice windfall that can be used for a holiday, new furniture or anything else that might not have been possible without it.

What do you do if you think you may be entitled to an unclaimed estate? Each week we publish the details of Unclaimed Estates as they arise. The Unclaimed Estates Register lists a range of information known about the deceased including their name, age, place of death and any other relevant information known about their life including spouses.

This information can be vital in aiding probate genealogists such as Finders International to track a rightful heir in each case. Regularly we will receive contact from people who know of an individual recently deceased without a known will or close relative. Information passed on from friends in this way can be a great way to kickstart a search to find a relative and ensure the belongings find a family member. If you know of a case, refer an estate to our team.

Reasons for Unclaimed Estates

There is a range of valid reasons for why people in the UK decided not to make a valid will to assign their assets after their death.

Many people shy away from writing a will because it seems morbid or depressing. Others might not get round to it - if a person dies suddenly or is killed in an accident they may have previously felt too young to make a will. If a person’s spouse or partner has pre-deceased them and they do not have any children or any other close family, writing a will might feel pointless.

Wills are often seen as the preserve of the wealthier sections of society when many of us do not know the full worth of the assets we own.

Whatever the reasons, we believe there is almost always an heir. Unclaimed Estates should go to those who are entitled to receive them, rather than the Crown. If you believe you have a rightful claim to an estate, why not contact us today?