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  • FIRST POST
    • notentirelysure
    • By notentirelysure 17th Apr 18, 12:03 PM
    • 5Posts
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    notentirelysure
    Claiming inheritance YEARS after a death..
    • #1
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:03 PM
    Claiming inheritance YEARS after a death.. 17th Apr 18 at 12:03 PM
    Hello,
    I've recently started to have a closer look at my dad's finances as he has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Amongst quite a few other muddles, I've realised that although my grandmother left everything to him, including tens of thousands of pounds in bank accounts and shares, he just didn't ever claim any of this. She died about 25 years ago. I've used mylostaccount to do a search and tracked down one account with 8,000 in it, and used bona vacantia, but this is all I've been able to track down. I know I probably just have to come to terms with the fact that we've lost it because he delayed doing anything about it for too long, but this is galling because my dad only has his pension and we're likely to need to pay for care for him. If banks were closing her accounts, would they have had a legal responsibility to contact us first? My dad is still living at my grandmother's last address. Is there anything else I can try...? Is it worth contacting banks directly (i.e. not through mylostaccount search)? Or asking a company to search on our behalf (and take a commission if they find anything)?


    Or do I just need to take some deep breaths and accept that we're lucky to find ANY of it at this late stage?!


    Any thoughts very welcome!
Page 1
    • TonyMMM
    • By TonyMMM 17th Apr 18, 12:17 PM
    • 2,649 Posts
    • 2,921 Thanks
    TonyMMM
    • #2
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:17 PM
    • #2
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:17 PM
    First thing .... did your grandmother leave a will, if she did who was the executor ?

    Is your father able to explain what happened (or didn't happen) when your grandmother died ?
    • Flugelhorn
    • By Flugelhorn 17th Apr 18, 12:19 PM
    • 757 Posts
    • 925 Thanks
    Flugelhorn
    • #3
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:19 PM
    • #3
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:19 PM
    Just wondering what the evidence was that there was so much in the accounts - was it just what your grandmother said? Would be surprised if the banks didn't send statements at some point
    • notentirelysure
    • By notentirelysure 17th Apr 18, 12:40 PM
    • 5 Posts
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    notentirelysure
    • #4
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:40 PM
    • #4
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:40 PM
    Yes, she left a will, with my father as the executor. It has also been complicated to track down the original will so long afterwards (we had a copy) because the original firm had closed. But we've identified where this is, now.


    As far as I know, he just delayed doing anything about it, not realising that this might mean he'd lose the chance to claim anything (he is a procrastinator, but I didn't realise that he'd procrastinated for SO long about this..! And I guess it is also tied up with grief and complicated feelings).


    What I have that indicates what assets there were, is a slightly random collection of bank statements and letters about shares, plus some letters from companies offering to find assets for a commission (either letters written to my grandmother or my father - and these companies have gone out of business by now, too!). The most recent letters refer to assets of around 8000 so I think this may just be the amount I also found through mylostaccount, so we don't need to pay anyone to recover that.
    • TonyMMM
    • By TonyMMM 17th Apr 18, 12:43 PM
    • 2,649 Posts
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    TonyMMM
    • #5
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:43 PM
    • #5
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:43 PM
    There is no reason why he can't apply for probate now....
    • notentirelysure
    • By notentirelysure 17th Apr 18, 12:48 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    notentirelysure
    • #6
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:48 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Apr 18, 12:48 PM
    I don't think the problem is being able to prove his right to claim it, it's more that I think a lot of it isn't available any more. I think banks etc can close dormant accounts after a certain amount of time and you just lose the money...? I guess that's what I'm asking, if there any way of tracking down or recovering any more of what there was (or what it looks like there might have been!) ..?
    • nom de plume
    • By nom de plume 17th Apr 18, 1:07 PM
    • 685 Posts
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    nom de plume
    • #7
    • 17th Apr 18, 1:07 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Apr 18, 1:07 PM
    .... and used bona vacantia,
    Originally posted by notentirelysure
    Is she listed there?
    • macman
    • By macman 17th Apr 18, 1:08 PM
    • 41,889 Posts
    • 17,377 Thanks
    macman
    • #8
    • 17th Apr 18, 1:08 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Apr 18, 1:08 PM
    So your father was sole executor and beneficiary, but has taken no steps to wind up and distribute the estate in 25 years? What happened to Gran's possessions? Was the property never transferred into his name?
    If your dad is not well enough to apply for probate, but of sound mind, then your only real option is to ask him to sign a POA to enable you to do it.
    There could potentially be a fine payable of up to 3K for late filing of probate, so you really need to take professional legal advice.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • Flugelhorn
    • By Flugelhorn 17th Apr 18, 1:46 PM
    • 757 Posts
    • 925 Thanks
    Flugelhorn
    • #9
    • 17th Apr 18, 1:46 PM
    • #9
    • 17th Apr 18, 1:46 PM
    From money supermarket
    Once an account is identified as being dormant, the money is moved into a central fund which is put towards good causes. However, if you subsequently discover a forgotten bank account, you can still be reunited with your savings and the money will be transferred back to you.
    • buildersdaughter
    • By buildersdaughter 17th Apr 18, 2:24 PM
    • 163 Posts
    • 419 Thanks
    buildersdaughter
    I so often post 'ask the Probate Office' and I definitely would. Even if they can't actually help, they can point you at those who can, and they will be able to give you general information.

    If you can gather that evidence then with information from the Probate Office, you can decide how much is worth your while. In your shoes I would do this, then approach the banks directly, and see where that gets you before making any other decisions.

    And what a procrastinator your dad must be, to let this money slip by! Good luck, and please let us know how you get on!
    • notentirelysure
    • By notentirelysure 17th Apr 18, 2:46 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    notentirelysure
    ...What a procrastinator indeed! I have been trying not to feel too cross with him about it, because he's ill and I think he's stressed and embarrassed at me finding out more about the things he hasn't done over the years, but when I think about all the repairs to his house, holidays, etc he could have had over the years! And it would make such a difference to pay for some help for him at this stage too.


    To answer some other questions: she didn't really have much property when she died - she'd sold her house and furniture when she came to live with us. I have just managed to get my dad to sign for me to have power of attorney (I had to fight the procrastination on that one, too!) so I can do some work on this for him. Bona Vacantia Estates were not able to trace a case under my grandmother's name. I thought we didn't have to go through probate (though I may be wrong!) as she left a will, and my understanding was that none of the accounts she left open when she died contained enough to require a Grant of Probate to be shown..?


    That's good news about the possibility of claiming the money, Flugelhorn - it seems that it is at least worth a try! And yes, buildersdaughter, giving the Probate Office a call sounds like a good plan as well!
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 17th Apr 18, 7:38 PM
    • 32,035 Posts
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    getmore4less
    BV only get estates that are referred to them

    Where there are know relatives and/or a will with a living executor it is very unlikely anyone would have referred the estate.
    • buildersdaughter
    • By buildersdaughter 18th Apr 18, 7:59 AM
    • 163 Posts
    • 419 Thanks
    buildersdaughter
    gemoreforless:
    I'm not sure if it's 'bona vacantia' but I am sure that I read - on this site - that banks will make accounts dormant after some years, but will pay out if proof is produced.
    Can the banks refer to 'bona vacantia'? It sounds as if OP's dad might well have ignored any post about hi mother's accounts.
    Either way, i am sure that it is worth a few enquiries.
    • TonyMMM
    • By TonyMMM 18th Apr 18, 8:23 AM
    • 2,649 Posts
    • 2,921 Thanks
    TonyMMM
    BV wouldn't get involved in a case like this - there is a will and there are relatives to act upon it.

    Probate is required to execute a will, but individual banks have their own rules and amounts that they will release without. If the amounts are not great, then you may not need to apply for probate - you would need to speak to each bank.
    • nom de plume
    • By nom de plume 18th Apr 18, 8:52 AM
    • 685 Posts
    • 644 Thanks
    nom de plume
    ....I think banks etc can close dormant accounts after a certain amount of time and you just lose the money...?
    Originally posted by notentirelysure
    From Money Advice Service website

    Money in a lost account is always yours by law, even if you wait many years to claim it.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 18th Apr 18, 9:04 AM
    • 32,035 Posts
    • 19,222 Thanks
    getmore4less
    gemoreforless:
    I'm not sure if it's 'bona vacantia' but I am sure that I read - on this site - that banks will make accounts dormant after some years, but will pay out if proof is produced.
    Can the banks refer to 'bona vacantia'? It sounds as if OP's dad might well have ignored any post about hi mother's accounts.
    Either way, i am sure that it is worth a few enquiries.
    Originally posted by buildersdaughter
    Anyone can refer an estate. you need to know the person has died, so dormant account unlikely to trigger on their own

    https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/unclaimed-estates-list

    the referrer is listed.
    Most often hospital/care home/council/bank/...

    Sometime it is years before they are referred today's additions have DOD as far back as 2010


    If you follow the list for a few days you will get an idea of what goes on.

    A lot get removed quite quickly because heir hunters get on the case and find relatives.
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 18th Apr 18, 9:42 AM
    • 4,140 Posts
    • 3,382 Thanks
    Yorkshireman99
    gemoreforless:
    I'm not sure if it's 'bona vacantia' but I am sure that I read - on this site - that banks will make accounts dormant after some years, but will pay out if proof is produced.
    Can the banks refer to 'bona vacantia'? It sounds as if OP's dad might well have ignored any post about hi mother's accounts.
    Either way, i am sure that it is worth a few enquiries.
    Originally posted by buildersdaughter
    Just to clarify bona vacantia is where there is money but no heirs have been found. Banks dormant accounts are often separate because nobody has cross referenced them to the BV list so the could be assets that the BV staff have records of AND money in dormant accounts as well. You might need to do a lot of digging to find things.
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 18th Apr 18, 9:43 AM
    • 9,403 Posts
    • 10,388 Thanks
    AnotherJoe

    What I have that indicates what assets there were, is a slightly random collection of bank statements and letters about shares, plus some letters from companies offering to find assets for a commission (either letters written to my grandmother or my father - and these companies have gone out of business by now, too!). The most recent letters refer to assets of around 8000 so I think this may just be the amount I also found through mylostaccount, so we don't need to pay anyone to recover that.
    Originally posted by notentirelysure
    Can you be more specific about what these "letters about shares" are?
    • notentirelysure
    • By notentirelysure 26th Apr 18, 11:13 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    notentirelysure
    Just to update: I spoke to a woman in the probate office who was quite helpful (though a lot of my queries fall outside of their role) - she recommended writing to the banks as a first step, because the decision as to whether we need to go through probate depends on whether we can find and of the money and whether the banks themselves decide the amounts are big enough to require probate. She also suggested asking the banks about shares and/ or trying to find out who my grandmother used to purchase / manage them. All I!!!8217;ve got on the shares is some quite random letters saying there are going to be changes to the companies eg name change, and a list my father made with a financial adviser that I got him to go and see, so just a list of companies he thought she had shares in.

    I!!!8217;ve written to the two banks where she had accounts - don!!!8217;t think (from the statements I have) that there!!!8217;s enough in either to require probate.

    I!!!8217;d guess I!!!8217;ll have to chase this up at some point and see if I can speak to someone.

    So no progress as yet but I!!!8217;m working on it!

    Thanks all for your help and thoughts. It!!!8217;s been really helpful to talk it over - I felt absolutely in the dark about where to start /if there was any point trying!
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 28th Apr 18, 8:15 AM
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    AnotherJoe
    Have a look in the bank account yove tracked down, (and any others) get a statement and then see if there are any dividend payments going in. That would help tracking down shares. Though, if this was 15 years ago and there's onky 8k in the account it's unlikely the shares woudl be worth much.

    You can also contract the share registrars for these companies and see if your grandmothers name is on the list of owners. At a guess if there are any shares would they be all the old privatisation schemes like gas, BT etc?
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