Woman inherits thousands from a relative she didn’t know existed

When Dr Anna Phillips was told that she’d inherited a share of an £180,000 inheritance from a man she had never met, she assumed it was a scam.

In an article in the Daily Mirror, Dr Phillips described the “surreal” experience of discovering her family connection to George Anderson, who died in Kirby, Merseyside in 2019.

No will

Mr Anderson passed away in a care facility and left no will. He appeared to have no known next of kin to receive his estate.

However, Danny Curran, the founder and CEO of Finders International, one of the UK’s leading professional probate genealogy agency and the star of BBC TV’s Heir Hunters series, was requested to search for relatives who were legally entitled to inherit George’s fortune.

Dr Phillips, an art teacher at an international school in Kyrgyzstan, was one of the beneficiaries Mr Anderson, born in 1938 in Everton, was an only child who never married or had children. Further investigation into George’s family led researchers to Australia, Malta, Canada, and Kyrgyzstan, eventually connecting all 26 beneficiaries back to the estate.

Suspected a scam

When Dr Phillips received the initial letter from Finders International, she immediately suspected a scam. She’d never heard of George Anderson before. Then, when she was walking hole after a day of teaching, she received a phone call.

The Finders International researchers were able to tell her that not only was she related to George Anderson, she’d also identified as a beneficiary of his estate, something she described as “completely incredible”.

George was born in 1937, the son of Elizabeth Phillips and George Anderson. His father passed away in 1969, while his mother died in 1998. Elizabeth Philips, George’s mother, was one of 10 children, four of whom died as babies. Dr Phillips’ grandfather is Thomas Phillips, one of Elizabeth’s brothers. As a result, Mr Anderson’s mother and Dr Phillips’ grandfather were related.

Fully mapped out family tree

Dr Phillips added that it was a shame she’d never know George or that they’d ever met. However, the entire experience has helped her reconnect with an extended family, and she now has a fully mapped out family tree.

While the inheritance hasn’t been life-changing, it was a nice surprise, and has helped with the family mortgage. Some of the money has been handed on to her children and it will also support Dr Phillips and her husband in the next chapter of their lives once they retire and continue travelling.

Families lose touch for all kinds of reasons, Danny Curran of Finders International told the Mirror. Mr Anderson appeared to have had major physical and mental health challenges throughout his life, which may have contributed to his loss of contact with relatives.

While it is not possible to know what he would have done with his £180,000 estate if he’d made a will, if entitled relatives are not found, the money goes to the Treasury.


Finders International is a Probate Genealogy firm that traces beneficiaries to estates, property and estates. If you work in the Private or Public sectors, contact us today about our services at [email protected].