Attorney General written question – answered on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment and Climate Change), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy)

To ask the Attorney General, if she will make it her policy to strengthen the guidance issued by the Government Legal Department to local authorities on handling the estates of people who have died without (a) known entitled relatives and (b) leaving a will to ensure that they refer all eligible estates as soon as possible after death to the Bona Vacantia Division and do not pass the details directly to a single heir hunting firm.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis The Solicitor-General

The Bona Vacantia Division of the Government Legal Department (GLD) handles the estates of people who die without known entitled relatives, and without leaving a will. There is no statutory obligation to refer estates to GLD. However, GLD publishes guidance on the matter. In addition, local authorities can and do seek advice from GLD about the referral of specific cases.

GLD does not provide advice to local authorities on the use of heir hunters.

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