Finders solution for solicitors dealing with Bona Vacantia Estates

Industry: Genealogy

Solicitors can often encounter problems when someone dies with no known next of kin. Despite incurring huge costs on the investigation by professional probate genealogists to uncover previously unheard of relatives, the efforts of the solicitor could prove pointless if it is a Bona Vacantia estate which has already been referred to the Treasury Solicitors’ office.

United Kingdom (PRUnderground) April 21st, 2011

Solicitors can often encounter problems when someone dies with no known next of kin. Despite incurring huge costs on the investigation by professional probate genealogists to uncover previously unheard of relatives, the efforts of the solicitor could prove pointless if it is a Bona Vacantia estate which has already been referred to the Treasury Solicitors’ office. This, as Daniel Curran of Finders Probate Genealogists explains is because the Treasury Solicitor is, more often than not, highly protective of estate assets on behalf of the Crown. This can often result in little sympathy for a solicitor who has spent both considerable time and money in seeking to find the deceased’s next of kin.

In seeking to solve this situation Finders have developed a simple solution, which is QC approved and satisfies the Treasury Solicitor’s call for estates to be referred after ‘reasonable enquiries have been made’. Finders will undertake, free of charge and risk, all investigation in order to trace entitled next of kin to an apparently Bona Vacantia estate or to prove there are no living and entitled relatives under intestacy law. In the event that a living heir is found, these investigations will enable a Grant to be taken out so as to begin the process of estate administration. If an heir cannot be traced, Finders will refer the estate to the Treasury Solicitor’s safely in the knowledge that are no next of kin who stand to inherit the estate.

Where these investigations do lead to an entitled relative, the Finders Fee is directly agreed with the beneficiary as a percentage of their net entitlement when the estate is distributed. This process safeguards against situations where, halfway through the administration of the estate under intestacy law, a will is found resulting in payment having to be recalled. This could not only prevent the solicitor who has been handling the estate administration from being de-instructed but also prevents a situation where the solicitor has to recover fees paid to third parties, such as genealogists. An arrangement with Finders would further safeguard the solicitor from a situation where they may be forced to write off thousands of points in time and expenses because the Treasury Solicitor’s Bona Vacantia estates division is not in a position to refund costs. Conscious of this risk, Finders are happy to try and find blood relatives prior to the estate being passed to the Crown in order to ascertain whether or not the Crown has an interest in the estate in question. This would enable the entitled blood relative to instruct a firm of solicitors to take out a grant at the earliest opportunity.

Where a firm of solicitors has referred a Bona Vacantia estate to Finders, Finders will recommend the firm for consideration by the prospective estate administrator, giving the firm the opportunity to recoup time and expenses through the fees generated in administering the estate. This opportunity would have been lost had the solicitor referred the estate immediately to the Bona Vacantia Estates division in the first instance.

Finders often hears the phrases ‘no known next of kin’ or ‘no family’ when carrying out enquiries to find blood relatives. However, we have a high success rate in identifying and locating next of kin and, whether they are distant relatives or living abroad, these people are entitled to inherit prior to the Treasury Solicitor’s Estates Division acting on behalf of the Crown. There is no risk and nothing to lose, whilst there are fees to be recovered and gained when a solicitor asks finders to investigate an estate with no known next of kin.

Daniel Curran is MD of Finders International Probate Genealogists and can be contacted via www.findersuk.com & www.trace-heirs.co.uk

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Daniel Curran
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