The Treasury has revealed details of the 26 unclaimed estates of people who died in Bedford, with hundreds of thousands of pounds of inheritance sat in limbo until the rightful heir is found.
The latest list provides details of almost 6,500 unclaimed estates across the UK – with combined assets possibly running into nine figures.
Official figures from 2021 showed that a total of £77 million was languishing in Treasury coffers in unclaimed inheritance.
Unclaimed estates, classed as ‘ownerless property’, occur when there is no will – or the beneficiaries of the will cannot be traced – and the next family member, following the rules of intestacy, cannot be found.
The Treasury only advertises estates with a net value of £500 or above.
The surnames of deceased people in Bedford where estates are unclaimed are:
Bent-Wilson, Bider, Bontscheff, Brown, Cohn, Davis, English, Evans, Farkasch, Feeney, Gilbert, Kobylanski, Kozlica, Lilley, Litwinczuk, Malik, Mike, Pedorczenko, Purins, Sadler, Strachan, Strods, Sulcs, Testa, Toborek and White.
Advice on how to make a claim is available here.
If no relative can be found within 12 years, the dormant estate becomes the property of the Crown, albeit it is still possible to make a claim if you are legitimately entitled.
Craig Ridge, Head of Contentious Probate at aw firm Higgs LLP, said claiming an estate is a straightforward process for those entitled to it.
“If you are aware of the death, there really is no need for the services of heir hunters, which typically charge between 10 and 15%,” said Craig.
”Unclaimed estates generally come about when someone dies without a will and no one steps forward to deal with the estate.
“Should you believe you are entitled to an estate, and there is a will, it’s sometimes as simple as writing to the executors of the will and they will do everything for you from that point. If the executors do not respond, there are other things you can do but you may need some advice on how to go about it.”
If there is no valid will, then there is an order of priority as to who can apply to administer the estate, starting with any spouse of the deceased. Entitlement to the estate in these situations is then governed by the rules of intestacy which follow a strict order.
“If you know someone has died and you believe you might have been left something, then you can simply search the probate records, or set up an alert for yourself, so that you know who to contact when the estate is dealt with,” added Craig.
“If there is a will, for a nominal fee you can get a copy of that will together with the Grant of Probate which will give you contact details for the executors. If there is no will, you can similarly get a copy of the Grant of Letters of Administration, which will give you the Administrators’ contact details, whilst separately checking the intestacy rules to see if you may be entitled to anything.
“If, after some time, no one deals with the estate then it may also be worth checking the Treasury List to see if the estate is unclaimed.”