Duchy of Cornwall receives £1m from deceased residents
THE Prince of Wales has collected more than £1m from people in Cornwall who have died without leaving behind a will, under archaic rules relating to the Duchy.
Prince Charles received £868,000 from deceased residents or dissolved but unclaimed companies between April 2019 and the end of last year, along with £201,000 from January 2020 to the end of the 201920 financial year in March, the latest accounts show.
The same accounts revealed the Prince’s annual income from the Duchy had risen to more than £22m, although is expected to fall due to the slump in asset values caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
When residents of Cornwall die without leaving a will or any surviving relatives, the property of their estate passes to the Duke of
Cornwall, Prince Charles, in line with laws that govern unclaimed assets – or “bona
vacantia” – dating back to the reign of King William IV.
Throughout most of England and Wales unclaimed estates eventually become the property of the Crown. This money has historically been used to pay out honorary pensions and other incomes in return for state service, such as the Sovereign Grant for members of the Royal family.
The Prince, as Duke of Cornwall, retains some of this money to pass it to any previously unidentified relatives who may come forward. As of March the Duchy had retained £824,000.
The money generated from unclaimed estates is ultimately passed on to a benevolent endowment fund, which has paid out more than £850,000 to good causes in the South West over the past seven years.