Protect your assets from the Crown

Year Published: 2011

Did you know in certain circumstances your goods and possessions (known as assets) can be passed to the Queen?

In England and Wales, property which passes to the Crown is often referred to in the legal field as Bona Vacantia – a Latin word meaning “vacant goods”.

The two main types of assets that commonly fall into this category are the estates of those who die intestate, (without leaving a will), and the assets of dissolved companies.

During the course of 2010-2011 the Bona Vacantia Division dealt with 26,481 new cases. This is an increase of up to 26.2% from the previous year, and is most likely to be as a result of the number of companies falling into liquidation and/or being dissolved.

However, it has also been reported that a growing number of relatives are bringing claims upon estates which have passed under the Bona Vacantia provisions.

If you are an entitled relative or believe you have a good reason to make a claim for ownerless property, the first thing to do is to get legal advice.

Your solicitor will contact the Treasury Solicitor’s Department who will confirm whether or not they are dealing with the enquiry or if they have “disclaimed” their interest.

If the land or assets of a deceased person are not provided for within their will, the Treasury will first advertise and enquire to seek heirs of the estate. If none come forward, the assets are realised and the balance transferred to HM Treasury.

To avoid your own estate becoming the property of the Queen, you need to make sure you have made provision upon your death, and you can do this by making a will.  This will safeguard your private possessions and property, and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

For further information please do not hesitate to contact our Dispute Resolution team on 01625 475 7676. 

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