I'm watching this programme where companies search for relatives of those who died leaving no will and no next of Kin can be found. When an individual dies leaving no will and no heir can be found the estate goes to the Treasury. There are variations in Law between Scots Law and the Law of England and Wales, but in both cases the end result will be the same, the Crown wins. If no relative is found within 12 years the money goes to the Crown. The Treasury publishes a list containing the names of the outstanding individuals, the 'Bona Vacantia' list. 'Bona Vacantia' means 'Ownerless Goods,' as you know. Many companies now operate a search system hoping to discover the missing heirs and obtain a cut of the cash. Some £14 Million goes to the Treasury each year therefore a large estate will pay well.
The 'Heir Hunters' programme concerns the efforts made by the
gold diggers companies to find relatives and take their cut. The individual stories reflect a wide variety of people, many sad, some heroic. Yesterday a solitary woman who gave away no information turned out to be a wartime member of SOE and operated in France during the war. Her suffering included a time spent in Ravensbrook Concentration Camp, from which she escaped and made it home. She only spoke on record once to a TV documentary, and never to any other it appears. Rich and poor it appears end up dying alone, lacking contact with relatives, sometimes happy and sometimes sad and lonely people. Life can be hard for some, even in a populous town.
However what strikes me is the viewer who makes this programme popular. The viewer lives in hope their name will appear on screen, they await the stranger knocking on the door and carrying news of a large windfall, their tongue hangs out as the programme reaches a crescendo and some lucky relative receives a cheque! I see similar people queuing at the Lottery desk, especially when a large turnover is available. We have all been there, at least once in our life.
Hold on, someones at the door, must go, quickly.......