Today in the UK, there are in excess of 8,800 unclaimed estates recorded by the Government, where a person has passed away without leaving a will and where no family members have been identified as beneficiaries in line with the Intestacy rules.
During our lifetime, we work hard for the money we earn to spend on the things we want, often including large assets such as property, jewellery and cars. Why do so many of us then fail to plan for the future and what we want to happen to these items that we have worked so hard for when we are no longer here?
A Will provides the opportunity to set out our wishes for when we pass away, including any requests regarding the assets we want to leave; however big or small they may be. This ensures that the people, organisations or charities that we care about and want to support, are considered and accounted for.
Where a Will is not made and beneficiaries of the estate cannot be identified, resulting in the estate remaining unclaimed, it is added to the Bona Vacantia unclaimed estate list. The estate is listed for a period of 30 years, to allow anyone who may have a claim to highlight this. After this time, the estate is passed to the Crown as ownerless property.
We all have items, whether valuable or not that we would want to be passed onto others, whether that be family, friends or charities. It is essential that these wishes are documented in a Will.