Unclaimed Welsh estates going to the Crown

According to the government’s lists there are over 77 estates as yet unclaimed by the relatives of those who died in Cardiff or Penarth, with many more in Newport, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and the wider Welsh community.

Many of the estates’ details are historic, but the most recent unclaimed estate locally was published on 1st March of this year.

Where somebody dies without a valid will, or where a will has not been located, they are said to die “intestate” and their next of kin can lay claim to the estate. This is subject to a strict order set out in the Rules of Intestacy. If there is no spouse or civil partner and there are no children or grandchildren, then parents or siblings may claim and if none of these are living then the estate may be shared amongst more distant relatives.

If an individual dies intestate and does not have any known next of kin, then their estate is eventually passed on to the Crown. These estates are looked after by the Bona Vacantia Division who maintain a public record of unclaimed estates, updated on a daily basis.

The Division may be contacted if a distant relative believes they have a valid claim and such claims can be made up to 30 years from the date of death.

Of the 1,149 new cases referred to the Division in 2012, 71% had been claimed by December 2013 and 53 valid wills had been found. However, too many estates still remain unclaimed, with the deceased person’s assets eventually going to the Crown.

What is the best way to make sure this does not happen to your estate?

You should take a few simple steps:

  1. Make a valid will – “DIY” wills, stationers’ forms and wills prepared by people who are untrained and unqualified represent a false economy. We will make your will professionally and efficiently and ensure your wishes are properly respected
  2. Keep it updated – contact us for a will review. It is recommended that your will is checked every 5 years to ensure it is still fit for purpose and changes in your circumstances or the law don’t require it to be altered
  3. Tell family and friends where your will is located – we will store your will for you and provide you with an information card for you to keep with your personal papers giving details of whom to contact when the time comes

Contact us today on 02920 706444 or via the contact us link above for a no-obligation discussion about your will.

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