Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Unclaimed Property ("Bona Vacantia") in the UK

As we've mentioned before, modern-day unclaimed property laws stem from the British common-law doctrine of bona vacantia ("ownerless goods") under which lost, mislaid, and abandoned property was turned over to the crown.

That doctrine still exists in the U.K.  For example, in the Vale of White Horse (England), local authorities will use bona vacantia to provide public funerals for those who die without heirs, a will, or other burial arrangements.  The remainder of any estate is transferred to the Office of the Treasury Solicitor where unclaimed estates can be searched and claimed.

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