All together now, sing along. We thought we would start our article this week with that very familiar refrain. There can’t be many people in the UK who do not recognise the theme tune of the popular Australian soap, and we thought it fitting as our theme this week is good neighbours and their worth.
Anyone who is familiar with the BBC programme Heir Hunters in which the work of our firm, Finders, features on a regular basis, will know we often rely on the help of someone’s neighbours to carry out our work.
30 Million People
When a person dies intestate (i.e. without leaving a will – and some 60 percent of adults, about 30 million people in the UK are thought not to have a will so it is surprisingly common), then their property will pass to the Crown, if no rightful heirs to the estate can be found.
When a person dies without leaving a will and that person does not have a living spouse or children, then such cases are often passed to professional probate genealogists such as ourselves, and we look to find the closest living missing heirs.
Often, we have very limited information about a person – their name and the date of their death, so our search can often look at who lived near by – those good neighbours. Over the years, we have worked with many neighbours and friends to establish a person’s history.
People have been able to provide us with various details and information which has proved invaluable. They might tell us that the person did not seem to see any other family members on a regular basis, but that the person had mentioned a connection to a certain town or area, and that gives us a place or area to research.
Or the neighbour can tell us that the person once worked at a location and we are able to find other people at that work place who can also fill in details and help us put together the puzzle of the family tree.
Sometimes, we are lucky enough to stumble upon exceedingly good neighbours, people who have took the time and trouble to know their deceased neighbour very well indeed. The neighbours have provided help such as shopping for a person, or picking up medications or dropping off food.
Adult Social Care
They have acted in a way that provides voluntary adult social care, and they have taken the time to get to know the person living beside them. As professional probate genealogists, we bless such people – someone who can give us information such as the deceased person’s date of birth, knowledge of family names, and a location for where that person was born makes our job that much easier.
In addition, we are often contacted by neighbours of someone who has died – they are anxious that the person’s estate should go to the rightful heirs, and they always do their best to help us in our search.
The Neighbours theme tune talks of how good neighbours can become good friends. And that can often prove to be still the case even after a person dies.