Pre-enforcement: consider the defaulter: deceased customers: deceased estates passing to the Crown
If a person dies intestate (without leaving a will) and there appears to be no relative to inherit, the estate is deemed bona vacantia (literally ownerless goods) and passes to the Crown where it may be administered:
- in England and Wales by the Treasury Solicitor
- in Northern Ireland by the Crown Solicitor as the Treasury Solicitor’s nominee
- in Scotland by the Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer
- in the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster by Farrer & Co, solicitors.
The Estates Group within the Bona Vacantia Division of the Treasury Solicitor each year deals with about 2,000 solvent estates with a net value of more than £500. They advertise for entitled relatives to come forward and if none do will administer the property and rights vesting in the Crown.
A person who considers they may be entitled to estate proceeds can make a claim to the Treasury Solicitor who will generally pay entitled relatives in full or may make a discretionary payment to non-entitled individuals.
If you are made aware that an estate has passed to the Crown:
- check the website at to find out if the estate is being administered and if it is
- write to the relevant body with details of HMRC’s debt.