A man who has inherited a life-changing sum of £70,000 from his grandfather, who he didn’t even know existed.

Nick Christou, 31, was raised his entire life to think that he didn’t have a grandfather after Jim Ross lost contact with his Wife and then their young daughter in the 1980s. Nick’s mother never discussed her dad and it wasn’t until his grandmother received a letter from Finders International addressed to her sister looking for relatives of Jim that he considered his grandfather.

Nick initially thought it was a scam: “I thought to myself ‘I doubt this is real’ getting a letter saying I might be eligible to my grandfather’s estate of around £4000 – £5000.”

“A man I never knew, not least when there are so many scams out there”.

“I left it a couple of months and while sitting with my Wife in the car I thought to myself ‘what if there’s something there?'”.

Nick, a McDonald’s manager in West Lynn, decided to pursue the claim but found that his grandmother had misplaced the initial letter.

Finding Finders

Undeterred, Nick was pointed to Finders International by his grandmother after she mentioned our name and the name of the case worker working on Jim Ross’s estate. After researching us on Companies House he decided to get in touch with us.

But it turns out that there was much more at £4000-£5000 at stake, which was revealed when solicitors accessed Jim’s bank accounts and discovered an account with £170,000 in it. Jim Ross had been a member of a lottery syndicate in the past that had been quite successful, meaning that the estate was far larger than Finders initially thought.

Nick’s share of the estate – from a man he never knew or was even told existed – came to £70,000. “I felt a bit numb at first to be honest” NIck said. “I let it sink in and I thought this could change our lives as a family”

“I have to pinch myself now. The whole thing has been a rollercoaster ride.”

Life Changing Cash

Nick has now been able to use the money to enjoy a belated honeymoon with his wife Karen along with clearing some debt and buying a car. There is now enough left to keep as savings that the family will be able to reap the benefits from for years to come.

Along with the cash are also some sentimental documents that Nick has now been given, including a letter from Jim to the Salvation Army requesting their help to track down his daughter, Nick’s mum, evidence that whatever had happened between them in the past, Jim wanted a relationship with his family.

Nick would advise anyone to find out more about their family, “Be inquisitive about your family, know who they are. It could just change your life forever.”

Changing The Law

If Nick hadn’t decided to get in touch with Finders International then the money that he received would have likely gone to the Government rather than Jim’s estranged family. Finders founder Danny Curran explained: “Nick’s story proves the importance of trying to at least know members of your family, even if fallouts have occurred.”

Danny is currently heading a Government petition to change the inheritance law in England and Wales to match Scotland, where families of deceased take precedence over the Crown when distributing estates. The British Government claims over £20 million a year from unclaimed intestate estates which is handed to the Government Legal Department, Bona Vacantia Division.

Danny says that this simple change to the English and Welsh Law will rule out the crown being the only beneficiary in many cases: “We have a great lesson to learn from Scotland which places distributing estates to family members – closely and distantly related – as a priority over enriching the Crown.


This article has been featured in the Mirror.