Estates of people who died in Swindon that are worth tens of thousands of pounds have not yet been claimed.

The inheritances will be stuck in limbo until the rightful heir is found.

The latest Treasury list provides details of almost 6,500 unclaimed estates across the UK, with combined assets of up to £77 million in total. This includes 22 estates from Swindonians.

Unclaimed estates are classed as ownerless property and occur when there is no will – or the will's beneficiaries cannot be traced - and the next family member, following the rules of intestacy, cannot be found.

The surnames of deceased people in Swindon where estates are unclaimed are Cafferty, Caffrey, Cullen, Davis, Demello, Evans, Fleming, Kelly, Lynch, Marsden, Maschotta, Moloney, Moran, Nowak, Prosser, Reynolds, Sloan, Smith, Sullivan, Udell, Walsh, and White.

If no relative can be found within 12 years, the dormant estate becomes the property of the Crown, though it is still possible to make a claim if you are legitimately entitled.

Craig Ridge is the head of contentious probate at the law firm Higgs LLP.

He said: “If you are aware of the death, there really is no need for the services of heir hunters, which typically charge between 10 and 15 per cent.

“Should you believe you are entitled to an estate, and there is a will, it’s sometimes as simple as writing to the executors of the will and they will do everything for you from that point.

"If the executors do not respond, there are other things you can do but you may need some advice on how to go about it.”

If there is no valid will, there is an order of priority as to who can apply to administer the estate, starting with the spouse. 

Mr Ridge added: “If you know someone has died and you believe you might have been left something, you can simply search the probate records or set up an alert for yourself so that you know who to contact when the estate is dealt with.

“If there is a will, for a nominal fee you can get a copy of that will together with the Grant of Probate which will give you contact details for the executors.

"If there is no will, you can similarly get a copy of the grant of letters of administration, which will give you the administrator’s contact details, while separately checking the intestacy rules to see if you may be entitled to anything."

Contact Craig on 01384 327258 or