Records kept by the Government have revealed that 94 estates have been left unclaimed with links to Liverpool and Wirral, and they could be worth some serious cash.
When people die without a Will their estate is divided and distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules as contained in the Administration of Estates Act 1925. The rules provide which individuals benefit from the estate and in what order.
When there are no surviving relatives who can inherit under the rules of intestacy, the estate ultimately passes to the Crown. The Treasury solicitor is then responsible for dealing with the estate.
In Britain approximately 1 in 3 individuals die intestate and the Crown benefits every year from unclaimed estates. The rules are complex and can change depending on your individual family circumstances when you die. This may mean that your estate may not pass in accordance with your instructions and can cause great problems following death.
The Treasury keep a record of all unclaimed estates and have recently provided that nearly 100 unclaimed estates have been linked to Merseyside. The individual details of the value of the estates has not been revealed but they have released a list of names which can be found on the Government website; https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/unclaimed-estates-list.
Who is entitled to an unclaimed estate?
The intestacy rules specify an order of potential beneficiaries starting with a surviving spouse or civil partner. However, partners who are simply cohabiting cannot inherit under the rules of intestacy and if they do not have a Will they leave one another in a vulnerable situation.
Children are also entitled to benefit under the rules and particular rules apply when there is a surviving spouse/civil partner along with children. The list of potential beneficiaries then passes to grandchildren and great grandchildren etc, parents, brothers and sisters, niece and nephews an so forth.
How to collect from an unclaimed estate:
There is a 30 year time limit when claiming the benefit of an unclaimed estate. You must prove that you are one of the list of ‘entitled’ beneficiaries as set out by the intestacy rules.
Once you have established that you are able to benefit from the estate, you will need to provide evidence of your family tree proving how you are related to the deceased individual.
There are various estate hunting firms that provide help and guidance in doing this but they do charge fees for doing so, so you should ensure that you look into the matter before proceeding.
As you can see it is not always easy dealing with intestate estates. As well as complicating issues and making the process of administration lengthy, dying without a Will in place can cause great problems as previously mentioned for cohabitees. Under the intestacy rules unmarried couples have no automatic entitlement to any of the deceased partner’s estate. If the property they shared was in the deceased’s name solely, then the partner has no immediate interest in the property and would be forced to leave.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be hard enough without the above and the concern that they did not have their estate in order. Preparing a Will provides peace of mind and security that your wishes are complied with and that you have simplified the process for your loved ones.
As a Will is such an important part in planning for your future it is important that you seek professional guidance and legal advice from a solicitor when doing so. Our team of experts are able to take you through the process to guarantee you the service is tailored specifically to your needs and advise on all suitable areas. Please contact us to discuss further.
Dated: 22/05/2018 by Samantha Kennedy