HEIR hunters could be flocking to Huddersfield after an official list revealed there are dozens of unclaimed wills in the area.
The Treasury has revealed there are at least 37 open cases with Huddersfield links – almost double the regional average. In comparison Halifax has 23, Wakefield 17 and Dewsbury just 11.
The value of the estates has not been made public but each one could be worth anything from £500 upwards.
The news comes after the popular BBC programme Heir Hunters featured former Newsome singer Doreen Walker.
Mrs Walker died alone in London last year leaving a £¼m fortune.
She grew up as an only child in Newsome but died a recluse at her London home last year leaving £250,000.
She made her name as a renowned contralto and the former Stile Common Junior School pupil moved to London, where she appeared in many concerts..
Several people contacted The Examiner saying they remembered Mrs Walker but no blood relatives have come forward to claim her estate.
The Treasury Solicitor’s list, which is published on its website www.bonavacantia.gov.uk, shows there are more than 2,000 unclaimed wills in England and Wales.
The list predominantly dates from 1997 onwards but does include some from the early 90s.
In Huddersfield a significant proportion of the cases appear to be of Polish or Eastern European origin.
Names include Jablonski, Werenicz, Danyi, Szcerban and Ferenc.
Kenn Winter, who highlighted the list to The Examiner, said he had been inspired to look online after watching the BBC show.
He said: “In the last fortnight there’s been two local cases. Last week featured one in Honley and the week before somebody in Uppermill.
“It came home to me that this was a local thing, not just a national thing.
“One of the things I noticed is East European names, Polish in particular on the list.
“After the war a lot of Polish came here and they didn’t have families and they aged in isolation.
“Their cousins must still be in Poland, I guess there isn’t the family network.
“It’s a shame as the undercurrent is that there is a disconnection in Huddersfield.”
The website is named after the term Bona Vacantia, which literally means vacant goods and is the legal name for owner-less property that passes to the Crown.
The Treasury Solicitor handles about 2,000 unclaimed estates per year on behalf of the Crown.
People who try to claim are required to provide evidence of their blood relationship in the form of birth, marriage and death certificates, along with evidence of their identity.
In most cases relatives have 12 years to make a claim although the Treasury Solicitor operates a discretionary policy for up to 30 years from the date of death.
UNCLAIMED Huddersfield estates. The surname comes first, then the forename and date of death.
Jablonski, Stanislaw 17/03/11
Rawsthorne, John Thomas 13/01/10
Beck, Friedreich 03/12/09
Baker, Peter Arthur 09/10/09
Harwood, Mary 30/10/08
Garside, Albert 24/06/08
Wood, Keith 29/02/08
Garling, Phyllis 12/08/07
Boris, Ferenc 08/03/07
Gawthorpe, Terence 12/01/07
Newman, Ronald James 05/12/06
Khan, Attar Hussain 10/09/06
Pearson, Roy 27/02/06
Singh, Sohan 04/12/05
Smith, Stefan 17/12/04
Danyi, Jozseph 14/12/04
Noble, Charles 24/04/04
Minns, Ralph 09/11/03
Bottomley, Margaret 30/06/03
Cope, Charles 07/11/01
Werenicz, Andrij 04/04/01
Brook, Arthur 08/04/00
Lockwood, Doris 09/03/00
Turner, Doris 04/09/99
Hardy, Robert 06/07/99
Mein, Ivy 10/02/99
Clayton, Joan 21/03/98
Robertshaw, Arthur 24/12/97
Johnson, Doris 28/09/97
Gelder, Leslie 22/08/97
Carter, Edwin 22/07/97
Singh, Lachman 22/02/96
Hewitt, Allan 13/12/95
Grundy, Dora 08/12/95
Szcerban, Petro 19/03/94
Armitage, Stephen 05/02/90