Heir hunters track down family of man without will

A family have been given a £100,000 inheritance after a man died without writing a will.

Joseph Hilliard left the estate unclaimed when he died last year because he had not made a will but a number of heir detectives have been able to locate the man's family.

Mr Hilliard had lost contact with his family but international probate researchers at Fraser and Fraser were able to locate them.

Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, Neil Fraser, a partner in the firm, said they had originally assumed he was born in the north-east before they found that he originated from Whitehaven.

They found a total of eight beneficiaries to his will, including children and grandchildren.

"People dying without a valid will is very common. A National Consumer Survey from September last year showed that 64 per cent of the UK population don't have wills.

"We always stress that it is important to have an up-to-date and valid will," he added.

The team are featured in a BBC One programme called Heir Hunters.

Published on: July 10, 2008

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