04 August 2017
50 people die each week without leaving a will
Legal analysis shows that millions of pounds of inheritance money is going unclaimed, with as many as 50 people a week passing away without leaving a will.
According to the unclaimed estates list, released by Bona Vacantia - part of the Government's legal department - more than 10,000 estates are currently unclaimed.
"Valid wills do exist for, on average, one in every five cases currently being advertised as intestacies [without a will] by the Government," said Danny Curran, of probate genealogists, Finders International.
However, wills not being properly filed and a lack of resources to seek out next of kins, means millions in unclaimed inheritances could be going straight to the tax man.
There are also growing concerns that fraudsters are using the list to target unclaimed inheritances.
According to the International Association of Professional Probate Researchers, Genealogists & Heir Hunters (IAPPR) hoaxers have already acted on information published on the government registry to seize control of estates.
An 'Heir hunter' from Selsey, West Sussex, will serve two years' jail time after admitting cheating victims out of £100,000.
Daniel Morgan Bates, 45, operating as Morgan Bates Services Ltd, was found guilty of researching family trees and tracing the beneficiaries to the unclaimed estates list.