People often pass away without a will, which is known as dying intestate. In these situations, it is difficult to know who inherits their estate and assets, especially if there’s no immediate next of kin.  

This is where the Unclaimed Estates UK list comes into play. You might be the heir to an estate you’ve no idea about, and you can use the list to claim your inheritance. 

People often pass away without a will, which is known as dying intestate. In these situations, it is sometimes difficult to know who inherits their estate and assets, especially if there’s no immediate next of kin.

This is where the UK’s Unclaimed Estates list comes into play. You might be the heir to an estate you’ve no idea about, but have an inheritance to claim which is currently on the list.

What is the UK’s Unclaimed Estates List?

The Unclaimed Estates List is government-run, and lists all of the ‘Bona Vacantia’ estates that have been registered in England and Wales.

‘Bona Vacantia’ literally translates to vacant goods, and is the name given to property that doesn’t have an owner, which passes to the Crown by law. The Bona Vacantia Division of the Treasury Solicitor maintain the Unclaimed Estates List, acting on behalf of the Crown to gather the assets and administer the estates of those without known heirs and next of kin. They also collect the assets for dissolved companies and other ownerless goods across the country.

Unclaimed Estates

How the Unclaimed Estate List works

The list of the estates is updated every day by the Treasury Solicitor. Newly advertised estates will appear at the top of the list. After one day of publication, the new estates will be sorted among the other entries based on alphabetical order.

If there are estates where the Bona Vacantia no longer has an interest, which can occur when a claim to an estate has been accepted , then the estate name is removed from the list. Furthermore, there is a 30-year fixed time limit on estates from when the date of death took place. Once this expires, the estates are also removed.

You can download the document and use the search function of the program to pick specific locations and surnames, date of death timeframes or death location. At the time of writing (June 2023) there are more than 6000 unclaimed estates on the list.

The spreadsheet can be used to search by name, date of birth, or place of birth and death. If the deceased person had an alias, and the alias is public knowledge, it may also be listed.

It’s worth knowing that even though the value of the estate is known to the government, this information is not shown on the Unclaimed Estates List. This is a precautionary measure designed to prevent any fraudulent or speculative claims from taking place.

Making an Unclaimed Estate Claim

The Unclaimed Estates list is a valuable piece of information which can be used to help identify whether or not you have a relative that you can claim from which you didn’t know about. However, the claim process for this task is quite complex, and establishing your rights can be difficult. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice to make your claim. If you think you may be the rightful heir to an estate on the unclaimed estate list, contact a probate genealogist or probate solicitor for advice on how to establish this and assistance in making a successful claim.

Gov.uk  Unclaimed Estates List

Looking for a Probate Genealogist

If you are looking for a probate genealogist to assist you with a proving entitlement to an unclaimed estate, The Probate Network can recommend a highly trusted provider with a fantastic success rate. For an introduction, please complete the form below.

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