COULD you be sitting on a goldmine without realising it?

Latest figures show that in Yorkshire and the Humber, there are 651 unclaimed wills and estates – together worth an estimated £97 million.

When somebody with no written will or any known family dies, their estate ­– usually comprising money, property or personal effects – is passed over to the Crown. And if that estate remains unclaimed after 30 years, it becomes the permanent property of the Crown and Treasury.

If a person leaves no will, their spouse or children have the first claim on their estate. In the event of no spouse or children, direct descendants from a grandparent of the deceased have the right to claim. But people who are not a direct relative could also be entitled – for example, if they lived with the deceased.

Tom Howcroft – partner at wills and estates specialist, Forbes Solicitors – says: “Some people might not know they are sitting on a goldmine. These relatives just need to be found.”

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