Are you entitled to unclaimed inheritance from a long lost relative?
Leeds has 470 unclaimed estates, according to Finders International’s interrogation of the latest Bona Vacantia list.
These are estates of people who have died apparently intestate (no will) and with no known next of kin.
Danny Curran, star of BBC Heir Hunters, and MD 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 October 1939 who died in Guiseley, was added to the 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, Booth, Coote, Dalton, Harris, Kerry, Moss, Smith, Potter, Dickinson, Gilmore, Taulor, Staples, Wilson, Wosman and Wright and many others.
When somebody dies intestate, 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 have just 12 years to claim an estate once it has been reported unclaimed to the Crown.
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’. Curran says that this might explain the increase in the listings, currently standing at around 9,000 nationwide with Leeds unclaimed estates accounting for about five percent of this.
In the last quarter of 2018, 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.
Mr Curran added: “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.”
Finally, all individuals, especially those without next of kin, should be made aware of the free-to-use Central Probate Registry that can hold your Will securely and without charge.
To see the entire searchable list visit: www.bonavacantialist.co.uk