Leicester Mercury

‘Millions sitting unclaimed’


- By MAIA SNOW maia.snow@reachplc.com @maiaksnow leicesterm­ercury.co.uk

MORE than 100 estates of people who died in Leicesters­hire without leaving a will are waiting to be claimed.

When somebody with no written will, or any known family, dies, their estate is passed to the Crown.

Relatives then have the right to make a claim for a share of the estate.

The time limit to make a claim is 30 years, so some of the unclaimed estates in Leicesters­hire date back years.

If an estate is still unclaimed after that time, it becomes the permanent property of the Crown and the Treasury.

There were 108 unclaimed estates belonging to people from Leicesters­hire as of October 15.

Eighteen new names have been added to the list kept by the government so far this year. The people who have died in 2020 and left no will behind are:

■ Anthony Morris, born on December 17, 1942, who died on January 2, 2020, in Leicester.

■ Ann Pickering, born on February 8, 1942, in Leicester, who died on April 4, 2020, in Leicester.

■ Margery Reeve, born on April 19, 1927, who died on April 28, 2020, in Leicester.

■ Richard John Davies, born on October 8, 1949, in Leicester, who died on April 2, 2020, in Leicester.

■ Colin Lowe, born on June 18, 1937, in England, who died on February 9, 2020, in Leicester.

The list of unclaimed estates is held by the government’s Bona Vacantia Division and updated daily.

As of October 15, there were 7,853 unclaimed estates in England and Wales on the list.

A person’s estate is usually made up of money, property, or personal effects.

Forbes Solicitors, specialist­s in wills and estates, analysed the list, and estimated that, with an average value of £150,000 per estate, £1.2 billion could be waiting to be claimed.

Tom Howcroft, partner at Forbes Solicitors, said: “Some people might not know that they are sitting on a goldmine.

“These 8,000 people will have relatives, somewhere, they just need to be found.

“Wherever you are in the country, there are millions of pounds sitting unclaimed. A lot of potential beneficiar­ies don’t claim because they think it would be a difficult task, but we try and make the process as seamless as we possibly can.”

If the person has left no will, their spouse or children have the first claim on their estate.

In the event of no spouse or children, any person who is directly descended from a grandparen­t of the deceased has the right to make a claim for a share of the estate.

This includes siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Claim seekers who are related to the person via marriage are not entitled to claim for the estate.

Adopted relatives have the same rights and stake to a claim of an estate as blood relatives, and vice versa – only the adoptive family can make a claim on the estate if the person who died was adopted, and adopted people have no rights to the estate of any of their original birth family.

However, someone who is not a direct relative may still be able to put in a claim for a grant from the estate, for example, if they lived with or cared for the deceased.

To see the surnames of unclaimed Leicesters­hire estates, go to:

 ?? GETTY ?? BENEFICIAR­IES: If someone doesn’t write a will, their estate is left to the Crown, unless someone claims it
GETTY BENEFICIAR­IES: If someone doesn’t write a will, their estate is left to the Crown, unless someone claims it

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