A 70-year-old recluse leaves a surprise windfall of £250,000 to relatives he had never met!

Richard Ticehurst sadly passed away in February this year with seemingly no next of kin. 

Leading up to his death, Richard had been living in very poor conditions, with no electricity or gas and was known to function in the evenings with a torch light on his head.

The local authority was tasked to arrange his funeral which is when Probate Genealogists, Finders International, – stars of BBC‘s Heir Hunters – was brought to start researching into Richard’s family.

It was quickly established that he was an only child and had never married or had children – but that Richard had an estate worth £250,000 and 31 relatives across five countries and three continents set to inherit a surprise windfall.

One of the beneficiaries traced was Yvonne Fraser, a second cousin of Richard’s. Yvonne had emigrated to Australia from Manchester in 1974, was one of the beneficiaries traced. She was shocked to hear of the news as she had never heard of her distant relative.

Beneficiary picture middle- Yvonne Fraser with her son Darren and daughter Adele.

Speaking about the surprise money, the mum-of-two said: ‘It came out of the blue. I never knew anything about Richard; however, when Finders explained the connections it made sense.

‘I now understand that my mother Muriel Ticehurst, who died in 2019, was a first cousin of Richard.’

Tragically Richard died unlikely to have known about any of his distant relatives.

Danny Curran, from Finders International: said: ‘Part of our research often brings us to the property where the deceased lived to source key documents, such as a Will. The search of Richard’s house provided a glimpse into how he lived.

‘It was quite shocking and incredibly sad to see.’

Despite the rundown state of his house and the very poor living conditions, Richard had in excess of a quarter of a million pounds in his estate.

His mother, Gladys, had also been an only child so the research team focused on his father Alfred’s side of the family and found a total of 31 residents in England, Scotland, Canada, Australia and America.

And while Richard was never able to meet his long-lost family, Yvonne is thrilled to have been reconnected with hers because of Richard’s estate.

Richard Ticehurst home in Eastbourne – where he lived in very poor conditions.

She said: ‘I am totally in awe of how Finders traced me and indeed found us all, scattered throughout the world.’

If no relatives had been discovered, the money would have gone to the Crown.

Finders International also revealed there is a staggering £3.3million waiting to be claimed – with 6,7000 cases still languishing on the government’s unclaimed estates list.

The full story can be read in the following publications:



Finders International work with the Public and Private Sector with tracing next of kin and missing or unknown beneficiaries to estates. To find out more about our services, see here or contact us on [email protected] or call freephone 0800 085 8796.