The Sun reported this week that a homeless woman who recently died alone in a shelter in the US missed out on a $900,000 inheritance.

Cathy Boone had been living on the streets. She had suffered drug and mental health problems, and investigators had been unable to find her to give her the inheritance left to her by her mother.

Investigators had sought news of her through newspaper adverts but had been unable to trace her. she died while living on the streets of Astoria in Oregon last year. Her father, Jack Spithall, had tried to stay in touch with this daughter but had lost contact with her after her mum’s death in 2016.

Could have been persuaded to seek help

He said the tragedy did not make any sense to him, and if enough people had been around her, she might have been persuaded to use the resources available for such issues.

When Cathy couldn’t be traced, the money from her mother ($884,407 about £637,222) was transferred to the Department of State Lands. Her father said it was unclear if she knew the money was here or how to go about claiming it.

The Department of State Lands confirmed it did all it could to try to transfer the money to Cathy. Spokesperson Claudia Ciobanu said the Department had taken a year and a half to try to find Cathy and did not think there was anything more the state could have done.

Cathy has two biological children and there are others who may potentially have a claim to her estate. She had been a regular at one of the homeless shelters in Astoria. She had suffered breathing problems while staying there last year and was taken to hospital where she later died.

Finders International maintains the Bona Vacantia List website, which is free to use and where you can check if you might be entitled to an unclaimed estate. The list is updated regularly with all the unclaimed estates in England and Wales, as each year thousands of people die before or without making a will, and there appears to be no immediate next of kin to inherit. The estates are held in trust by the Government’s Bona Vacantia Division, and if no heir is found, it passes to the Crown. If you believe your are entitled to one of the estates on this list, you can contact our genealogy team who can help you prove your claim and inherit your share of the estate.