Making a search for unclaimed estates
It is possible that you have relatives that you’ve lost touch with over the years. You may even have family branches that you don’t even know exist. Around two thirds of Brits die without making a will and there are currently 20,000 unclaimed estates that have been passed over for administration by the Treasury Solicitor.
It’s by no means improbable, and perfectly natural to wonder whether you could be entitled to a lost inheritance, especially if you have a large family. After all, in 2010 £21m was paid out by the Treasury to long-lost heirs.
If you want to find out whether you’re entitled to claim a slice of the millions held by the Treasury in unclaimed estates, you need to do a search of the Bona Vacantia, or vacant goods list. To perform a search, the information you’ll need is;
Date of Death
Place of Death
Date of Entry to Bona Vacantia
If you don’t have all this information, you can just search surname and place of death but your family name may not be the same as the deceased’s due to marriage over generations. Common names such as Smith or Jones can be difficult to trace.
You may not even know of a particular relative, or have no knowledge of an entire branch of your family tree. Plus, the list details estates in England and Wales only, and you may have an entitlement to an estate overseas. This is fairly common as many families lose touch when members move abroad or emigrate. Therefore, if you don’t have much information, the best way to start is actually by researching your family tree.
During your genealogical research, you’ll be able to map out blood lines and see if you can make any connections. You’ll also obtain birth and death certificates to prove your lineage. These, along with other public records may contain vital clues as to the whereabouts of relatives.
Genealogy is satisfying and rewarding. Besides, if you’re lucky enough to find you could be a beneficiary of an unclaimed estate, you’ll need to submit a professional family tree as proof of your relationship to the deceased.
If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can get a genealogist to carry out the work on your behalf. Find about more about our professional service to find your family tree.