Who is entitled to an unclaimed estate?

Posted By: on 30th November 2018 | Category: Probate and Estate Administration

First, what is an unclaimed estate? An unclaimed estate or unclaimed inheritance refers to what happens when someone dies intestate, i.e. without leaving a will, or it might happen when an old will is in place and the person’s intended beneficiaries died before they did.

The general rules of intestacy are—the person’s spouse or civil partner and then any children have the first claim to an estate. If there is no spouse, civil partner or child, anyone who is descended from a grandparent of the person is entitled to a share of their estate—so cousins, the off-spring of cousins etc. People who are related by marriage are not entitled.

Adopted children have the same rights as children who are born into a family, but no rights to the estate of their birth family.

Unclaimed inheritance

The issue of unclaimed inheritance crops up more often than you think. People can leave it too late to make a will, or they might feel that it isn’t worth doing, especially if they don’t have a living spouse or children.
You will need evidence to prove your relationship to the deceased—a family tree that shows your relationship to the deceased. [Please note—Finders International can draw up independently verified family trees which proves a relationship.]

You also need to give two separate pieces of personal identification—one that shows your full name and the other that lists your name and address and is less than three months old (a utility bill, for example). You might also be required to provide your birth certificate, and birth, marriage and death certificates for the deceased.

Property and personal possessions

In most cases, an unclaimed inheritance will be money but it might include property or personal possessions.

What sort of time frame are we looking at? The claims on an estates are handled through the process of administration when someone dies without leaving a will. The time it takes will vary according to the size of the estate, the number of heirs and if there are problems tracing and proving or disproving all entitled beneficiaries.

In general, low value estates where there aren’t many heirs are easier to administer and take less time than a high value estate with many heirs—as the beneficiaries to Prince’s estate can tell you…

The process generally takes three to six months in a best-case scenario or several years if not.

If you would like to get in touch with Finders International regarding tracing heirs or assets to estates, please contact them today on Freephone 0800 085 8796, email contact@findersinternational.co.uk or visit their website.


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