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Could you be sitting on a fortune?

PUBLISHED: 07:30 23 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:35 24 October 2019

Is your surname on the list of the unclaimed estates? Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Is your surname on the list of the unclaimed estates? Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Thousands of pounds could be waiting for people in Suffolk and north Essex as dozens of estates remain unclaimed - find out if your surname is on the list by using our searchable table.

A number of estates remain unclaimed in Suffolk and north Essex - is your surname on the list? Picture: TORANGE.BIZA number of estates remain unclaimed in Suffolk and north Essex - is your surname on the list? Picture: TORANGE.BIZ

When someone dies with no will or known family, their property passes to the Crown as ownerless property, which is also known as bona vacantia.

It can be any kind of property such as buildings, money or even personal possessions and you could be entitled to a share of these if you have a deceased relative.

The government produces a spreadsheet which is updated daily, and shows which legacies have not yet been claimed by any relatives - and are therefore open for family members to make a claim.

The list shows 57 people who died in Suffolk, along with eight people who were born in the county but died elsewhere.

Meanwhile, 65 names on the list died in the north of Essex, and 11 people who were born in the north of the county died elsewhere.

Many have been on the list for years and the vast majority are believed to be people who died alone and are listed as spinsters, widows, bachelors or single people.

According to Will Aid, a charity will-writing scheme, 58% of people in East Anglia have already made a will, which is the highest number in the country.

In a recent poll carried out by the charity, 50% of adults do not have a will written already.

Jon Jacques, chair of Will Aid, said that despite high-profile court cases and news of celebrities dying intestate, around 50% of people in the UK still do not have a will.

"So many of us make a will and then forget about it. But many of us then forget to update it in the event of a change in our circumstances," he said.

"Events such as becoming a parent, grandparent, losing a partner, getting divorced or separated, inheriting assets and getting married are all life events that we should update our wills to reflect.

"Buying a house, large investments, the acquisition of additional properties or businesses and retirement plans should all be kept current in terms of the contents of your will.

"Failure to update changes in your circumstances can leave the loved ones you leave behind financially unprotected."

You can use our searchable tables above to find out if your surname is on the list.

The government usually only accepts claims up to 12 years after the administration of the estate - meaning you must act quickly to make a claim.

When making a claim you'll be asked to send a family tree showing your relationship and two pieces of identification.

You might also be asked to send birth, death or marriage certificates.

However if you are not a relative you can still apply for a grant from the estate - for example if you lived together or once cared for them.

To find out more about making a claim visit the government's website.

Have you found your name in one of these lists? Get in touch to share your story.

Read more: Is your surname on this list? You could be sitting on a fortune

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