We hope you are enjoying Heir Hunters Series 9 – currently on BBC1, weekday mornings 9.15am.

This series has certainly focused on some very interesting cases and we are enjoying reliving our experiences of investigating them. We filmed with the Heir Hunters production team early last year and it’s great to finally see those cases on screen.

Thursday’s episode focused on the estate of Richard Donald Lay, who died in August 2013 without leaving a will. Finders International case manager Amy Moyes investigated the case.


Richard had been adopted as a baby in 1945 by Victor and Doris Lay. He was described as a quiet and withdrawn man, who liked to keep himself to himself. His relatives attributed his reticence to the late discovery of his adoption (when he was in his 30s).

Adoption, Amy explained, in terms of the legalities concerning inheritance, means that the adopted family is the family that inherits an estate when someone dies intestate.

In a further interesting twist to the programme, a specialist house clearance firm sent in to Richard’s house uncovered a passion for cars and vehicles, and a collection of original Dinky model cars still in their packaging.

Model Prices

Dinky model cars are die-cast zamak miniature vehicles which were made by Meccano Ltd in Liverpool from 1934 to 1979. Some models are worth more than the price of real cars, and have fetched two or three times the asking price at auction. Models in pristine condition in their original packaging can double the value of the model.

The collection was sold off at auction so its value could be added to Richard’s estate and the collection was sold for about £6,500, giving a final value to the estate of approximately £300,000.

As Amy researched Richard’s mum and dad, she discovered there were no heirs on his mother’s side, but that his father had five brothers and there were a number of cousins. His death brought together people who had not seen each other for many years and they expressed their gratitude for the “magical” reunion – concluding another successful case for the Finders team.

Richard’s case was certainly an interesting one for the Finders team, revealing as it did what happens when a person is adopted and what estates can include. We were also delighted with the result for the family – and their reunion. As is often the case with investigations into the estate and family of someone who has died intestate, the real value lies in the family reunion and the knowledge we can bring to families.