According to the latest figures, there are currently 9,254 unclaimed estates in the UK. With the average value of an estate worth around £150,000, the total amount of this unclaimed inheritance could be worth billions.
Property, money, personal belongings and other assets are being left in unclaimed estates in the UK, instead of being passed on to relatives or friends. To prevent this from happening, it is vital to make a Will.
What happens when you die without a Will?
When someone dies without a Will, and there are no known heirs, their estate will be passed on to the Government (the Crown).
Unclaimed assets include property, money and personal possessions. And, while in some cases these unclaimed estates are of very little value, they can be worth millions.
Every day the Government publishes an updated list of unclaimed estates in the UK. The newest estates are added to the top of the list.
An estate remains on the list for a maximum of 30 years, and during this time, relatives can make a claim against it. However, where no heirs are found, the estate is eventually transferred to the Treasury.
Who can claim an estate?
Under the UK’s inheritance laws (Rules of Intestacy), people who are blood relatives of the deceased could be entitled to a share of an estate.
Even distant relations could be in for a windfall. However, partners are not recognised if they were not married or in a civil partnership and neither are stepchildren.
List of unclaimed estates
The Government’s Bona Vacantia Division (BVD) holds a complete list of unclaimed estates in the UK. If you want to make a claim, you will need to contact them with a family tree detailing how you are related to the person who has died.
You may be asked to prove how you are related to the deceased, so the more details you can include (e.g. birth and marriage certificates), the better.
While this process is complex and can take a long time, with millions going unclaimed the result could be worth it.
How to find the value of an unclaimed estate
It is not always possible to determine the value of an unclaimed Estate without further investigation. However, if you are deemed to be the sole rightful heir you will receive the full value of the Estate.
Avoid leaving an unclaimed estate
The best way to make sure that your estate doesn’t end up going to the Government is to create a Will.
Making a Will is especially important if you have no or few living relatives.
However, despite the importance of having a Will, too many people never get around to this inexpensive and simple task.
You don’t have to leave your estate to your family. You can decide to leave your home, money and possessions to whoever you want, including friends and charities (read our article on the best way to leave money to charity)
But, only by creating a properly drafted Will can you be sure that your estate will be left as you choose when the time comes.
Make A Free, No Obligation Enquiry Now
To speak with one of our specialist Wills & Probate Lawyers, please call us now on 0117 952 0698 or Make A Free Will Enquiry and we will discuss your current circumstances with you and explain all available options available to you.