B for Bonavacantia

2 April 2016

OK, so what the heck does ‘Bonavacantia’ mean?! Yesterday (and frequently to be honest) we write about Bonavacantia…. it means ‘vacant goods’ and is the name given to ownerless property, which by law (could) pass to the Crown. The Government Legal Department (formerly the Treasury Solicitor) acts for the Crown to administer the estates of people who die intestate (i.e. without a Will) and without known blood relatives (aka kin) and “collect the assets of dissolved companies and other various ownerless goods in England and Wales” (according to the GLD website).

When someone ‘pops off’ without leaving some kind of written communication (by way of a Will) in relation to their financial matters, the Government (more often than not) becomes involved. Not always…. sometimes an individual refers the matter direct to an Heir Hunter or solicitor but, that is not the norm. So, the Bonavacantia list…. what is that? A list published every single day (Monday to Friday) which details all the deceased estates where people are believed to have died without a Will.

Does the deceased definitely have no Will? No. There are several cases we have worked on over the years where we have submitted claims to the Government Legal Department (GLD) and the deceased has left a Will. Situation: Expense on the part of FWL and no financial remuneration. Booo….

With no Will (as one might expect from the BV list), what is the value of the estate? Erm…. no idea….! Seriously, why would we know? If you knew that an estate was valued at in excess of £0.5 million, what would you do? Most people wouldn’t do anything if they weren’t related, but other less scrupulous individuals would try to defraud the estate. So, the value is (generally) held under the Data Protection Act.

OK, so you are entitled! What next? You could put in the claim yourself to the GLD if you want…. that means you are in charge and have to trace all entitled beneficiaries yourself, pay them their entitlement (the correct percentage), etc. Or you could contact an Heir Hunter (like us) or a solicitor (which will, undoubtedly, cost you more)…. there are many options available to you…

We provide probate/intestate advice, services and more. If we can assist in any of these matters, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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