The Eastern Daily Press has published an article on 2 September 2020 highlighting the numbers of people who have died with an unclaimed estate, who were born or died in Norfolk.
The article shows how a great number of people have died without having made a will and have an unclaimed estate. Many unclaimed estates will likely be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, and perhaps even more. It is also to be expected that many of those who have died may have had beneficiaries in mind to inherit from their estate but did not make a will.
If someone dies without having made a will, the person is said to die ‘intestate’ and there is a hierarchy of family members who are able to claim the estate. If there are no surviving relatives entitled to make a claim, then the estate will pass to the Crown, and the person is said to die ‘bona vacantia’.
It is so important not just to make a will, but to make a will which will be valid will ensure your wishes are carried out. Always consider taking professional advice and beware of the risks of DIY wills! Furthermore, once you have made a will, ensure it is stored safely (perhaps with the firm of solicitors that assisted in the preparation of the will) and tell your executors where your will is held. It is of course no use making a will if it cannot be found after your death.
This article was written 3 September 2020 and the law may change following this date.
Richard Tinkler is a Partner based at the Helliwell House office in Wroxham.
Capron & Helliwell offer a fixed fee first appointment for family law matters - for details or to book an appointment please contact Dawn Pennell on 01692 581231.
This article aims to supply general information but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However, no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek specific advice.