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How to track down inheritance, bank accounts and more

Losing money sounds like the kind of thing you’d do on a bad day and let’s face it, we’ve all lost the odd fiver at some point, but what happens when you lose thousands that you had sat in a pension? How do you forget about an entire bank account?

Well it’s more common than you’d think, especially when you are dealing with the estate of a relative or friend who has died. But even once you discover what exactly it is that you have lost, how do you go about finding it and proving the account is yours?

Inheritance and estates

If someone dies without a will or any known family, their estate will pass to the Crown as ‘bona vacantia’ (ownerless property). The estate can include anything from real estate, personal possessions such as cars or jewellery and money.

However, it is possible to claim the estate of someone who has died months or years after they have passed. You can search the unclaimed estates list on Gov.UK or you can visit unclaimed-estates.org.uk to search and put together a claim.

The longer the time has passed since the death of the person owning the estate, the more difficult it may be to trace everything but it is still worth doing if you have a viable claim to the estate. You will need to provide certain information and documentation to make your claim and the more information you provide, the better.

Pensions

After the arrival of the workplace pension scheme, many people are accumulating multiple pensions from different companies they work for. This could be a major problem in 40 to 50 years’ time where millennials, who tend to have a range of jobs in their early career, will be looking at retiring.

However, this is also a problem for pensioners now who may have a workplace, company or personal pension that they have lost track of over the years. You can track down missing pensions via Gov.UK, it is free to use and contains the details for over 200,000 pension schemes.

Make sure you have information available such as the company you worked for or the company which handled your pension scheme in order to make the search that bit easier for yourself. If you are still struggling to find your pension then you should contact the Pensions Advisory Service.

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Bank and savings accounts

Instead of ringing around every single bank or building society, head to mylostaccount.org.uk and fill in the online form to see if there are any bank accounts with your name (or the name of a deceased relative if you are dealing with an estate) on them that you forgot about.

On the form, you should provide as much information as you have such as addresses, date of birth and any changes of name. When you are searching for bank accounts of a relative who has died you will need to provide the death certificate or a copy of the will and probate.

Once you have filled all the information in and sent it off, you should receive information on accounts as soon as possible so you can get in touch with the relevant bank/building society to deal with the monies in the account.

Shares

Many people take out shares and receive nothing for years until they receive a certificate with money at a much later date. To find out what you own and how much your shares are worth, you could look on your old shares certificates if you can find them or you can contact on the major share registrars: Capita Asset Services, Equiniti and Computershare.

Insurance policies

Many people own lost or forgotten insurance policies which the Association of British Insurers (ABI) are trying to find. There are companies online which will try and find your unclaimed policies such as life insurance and pensions however they will charge a fee to do this for you. If you don’t want to pay a fee, you can try and find these for yourself by visiting the ABI website and checking out their FAQs section.

For any further information on tracking down lost money, it may be worth getting in contact with Citizens Advice Bureau.

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