Thu 3rd Sep 2015
Ever watched television shows that reveal how unsuspecting individuals receive bequests worth thousands? If so, you’ve no doubt wondered if, somewhere in your family, there was an inheritance worth a fortune awaiting you! It really could be you as latest government figures show that unclaimed inheritances in Scotland amount to £3 million. Now leading heir hunting firm, Finders International, has turned its attention to Scotland to help people track down their inheritances.
A website has been launched where Scots can find out if they are heir to oodles of cash! And it’s as easy as typing in your own surname, or that of any distant relative you may remember your parents or grandparents talking about, to see if you have a claim on an estate. Someone in your family may well have died without a will and with no known next of kin.
People from across Scotland are listed; Banchory, Kirkcaldy, Dundee, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh are just some of the towns and cities listed. Many people will be familiar with Daniel Curran, of Finders, from his appearances on the television programme Heir Hunters.
He is aware of the programme’s focus on England but has been trying to bring more Scottish cases to the screen. But, he says, the law is different in Scotland. “The intestate law (where someone dies without leaving a valid will) is far more generous in Scotland,” he said. “Here you can keep going back to second or third cousins from great, great grandparents.”
Of course, this large pool of beneficiaries means that the individual share of any inheritance is reduced. “It is very rare to have a large amount going to one person,” Daniel warned, “because the nature of our work means that an inheritance is spread among a larger number of people.”
He has worked on estates worth millions, highlighting a £2 million estate that was spread among 30 people. If a person dies without a will, or a will is declared invalid, their estate passes eventually to the Treasury.
It banked more than £14 million in unclaimed inheritances in 2013-14. However, relatives have 12 years to come forward and claim their inheritance, and all interest, on the money. The ultimate deadline is 30 years but this is at the discretion of the Government legal department and no interest is paid for the final 18 years.
Daniel added: “When people say ‘Oh, inheriting a fortune could never happen to me’ I ask them ‘Do you know all your parents’ cousins?