AN ESTIMATED £15billion worth of inheritance goes unclaimed as relatives may not even realise they are missing out.
By SAMANTHA LEATHERS 04:01, Sat, Nov 27, 2021
Entrepreneur Danny Curran is an “heir hunter” who works to reunite individuals and the inheritance they didn’t know they were due. Mr Curran shared how you can check what you’re due and the amazing stories of some of his clients.
A form of paralegal service which investigates and tracks down those who could be due intestate inheritance, heir hunters are usually commissioned by councils to take care of the estate of those that died in their care.
Intestate is when an individual dies without a will or any immediately obvious beneficiaries such as a spouse or children.
Mr Curran started his heir hunting business, Finders International, in 1998 and has since processed more than 100,000 cases on behalf of the British public.
He has also been a regular on the BBC show Heir Hunters which showcased what goes on in the fringe legal service.
Alongside finding the rightful heir, Finders International seeks out potential hidden assets through thorough investigation.
Investigating these types of cases can often lead to far bigger revelations than expected, like that of one 82-year-old man who died in East Anglia.
Upon trying to find the rightful heir for his small £5,000 estate, Finders International worked with the man’s lawyers and incidentally uncovered that he had won a syndicate lottery.
The man had seemingly not been able to spend the winnings before his death and had kept the £140,000 in a separate bank account.
Tracing his family tree, Finders International discovered that he had been estranged from his daughter, who had died around 15 years earlier, and never knew about his two grandchildren in Norwich.
The money was shared between the two grandchildren, who have used the windfall from a grandfather they never knew for home improvements, cars and even a honeymoon in Las Vegas.
For anyone who suspects they could be due an intestate inheritance, Mr Curran said: “We suggest visiting the Bona Vacantia list published by the Government, it includes all unclaimed estates, and search for the name of your deceased relative.
“Secondly, contact a firm like mine, Finders International, or another reputable probate research firm directly if you think you might be due some money as we will often review the case free of charge to see if there is any money due to you.”
Additionally, anyone that has been contacted by an heir hunter and wants reassurance that the matter is genuine can check the company on the International Association of Professional Probate Researchers website.
Founded by Mr Curran to bring a code of conduct into the industry, the IAPPR is now the international governing trade body for heir hunters.
Mr Curran advised that genuine heir hunters will contact heirs in writing to inform them of their relatives death and offer them the opportunity to sign up with them for a fee so that they will handle the legal and practical matters of being granted probate.
Heir hunter investigations can often be unpredictable and estates are split between all of the heirs that are discovered.