It has been reported by a north-east property developer that there are approximately 7,991 estates currently left unclaimed in England and Wales. The total value of which is estimated at £1.744bn, equating to £218,300 per estate. They report that the majority of these estates have been left by single people who have not made a Will.
An unclaimed estate is essentially the assets left when someone passes away without a Will. The Government has a list of unclaimed estates which is updated regularly. An unclaimed estate remains on the list for 30 years and if not claimed then the funds pass to the Treasury. Certain family members could be entitled to the estate, although non-married partners and stepchildren are not included. A recent insight looked into as yet unclaimed estates published on the Governement webiste, and those who may be unaware that they are an heir.
The property developer was looking at this from the point of view that there is a lack of housing, however it does also highlight the importance of making a Will to ensure that your estates passes to the people who you wish to benefit rather than long lost family members that you have had not contact with for many years or you do not even know exist. In those circumstances, it can be a lengthy process to trace the family members and can be expensive.