Unclaimed Asset Search guru Bruce Cane explains how easy it is to find ‘lost’ assets

Unclaimed Asset Search guru Bruce Cane explains how easy it is to find ‘lost’ assets

It is estimated that £200bn is left in limbo following the death of loved ones each year. The money can be in a bank account, part of a pension scheme or even in the form of stocks and shares.

Many people don’t know these assets exist, and after a prolonged period of time, the money can be ‘swallowed up’ by financial institutions and put into a pot to be used for other means.

Bruce Cane has spent 30 years in sales and marketing. In 2010 he started working in the asset reunification marketplace, and after seeing a gap in the market founded Inheritance Data.

Not many practitioners are aware that this type of service exists, and with that in mind, here at Today’s Wills and Probate we wanted to delve into Bruce’s mind and find out a little more about asset reunification.

What is the scale of unclaimed assets in the UK?

Tens of billions of pounds lie in dormant assets this is increasing annually at an alarming rate. Some of the published figures are NS&I £3.2bn which has increased by £1bn in four years, dormant bank accounts £1.2bn closed pension funds £16bn

Is interest accruing on these assets?

Depends on how they are held, on the whole the assets will be in the lowest interest rate payable.

Is there a time limit attributed to claiming these assets?

Depends who has the asset but the majority there is no time limit.

What is being done to reunite beneficiaries with these assets?

The expansion of the Dormant Asset Scheme beyond banking to include pensions, securities, insurance and investments, is a landmark moment, not just because of the value of unclaimed asserts now in scope but also because for the first time the Government is stipulating a reunification first approach. Gretel is a revolutionary new cloud based digital hub which works with financial institutions helping reunite consumers with lost or forgotten bank accounts, pensions, investments and savings.

What happens if these assets are found after the beneficiary has died?

An executor is responsible in perpetuity for administering an estate. This means that, should a case need to be reopened, it would be at the executor’s expense. HMRC would also need to be informed regarding any inheritance tax liability and there could be a risk of fines.

Why should an executor use a financial asset search?

Completing an Inheritance Data Financial Asset Search ensures that, if an additional asset is subsequently discovered, the executor can demonstrate that they have discharged their duty to search for assets and the financial institute is at fault for failing to disclose the asset. This also negates any potential issue with HMRC regarding failure to disclose correct inheritance tax liability.

Are the Executors costs covered if they must reopen a file?

If an ID financial asset search is performed and funds are subsequently located up to six years after the search, the ID Estate Distribution Warranty is activated and covers the Executor up to £10k in extraneous costs.

Most of my clients know where all the assets are.

Unfortunately, this is a view taken by some executors and if it were true the amount of dormant assets would not be rising at such a rapid rate annually.

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