Case of the month: The antique hoarder

Blanchards case of the month: The antique hoarder

When we visit homes of hoarders, we often encounter extensive piles of clutter and debris. While the saying goes, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure,” it’s challenging to believe that anyone would choose to hold onto these items. However, on rare occasions, we stumble upon properties that hoard genuine treasures, by anyone’s standards. This particular case is one such extraordinary instance.


Blanchards were assigned this case through bona vacantia, the primary source of our case referrals, encompassing both small and high value estates. This case, in particular, falls into the latter category, with the deceased owning property in Canvey Island, Essex. At 83 years old, the deceased passed away without leaving a will, following the unfortunate deaths of his wife and son several years prior. It’s not uncommon for widows, widowers, and those who’ve lost their family members to neglect writing a will, a situation known as dying intestate. Our intestate led a relatively quiet and unassuming life, except for his deep passion for travel. His journeys took him to far-flung corners of the world, where he collected souvenirs and artifacts, amassing an extensive collection of antiques over the years. He was particularly captivated by the beauty of Asia, South America, and Europe.

Visiting the Property

After gaining access to the property with the consent of relatives, Blanchards and PPS embarked on the initial clearance stage. This phase involves searching for any existing will, securing the property, and ensuring its overall condition. Often, the properties we visit are in a state of disrepair, resembling hoarder houses with heaps of refuse. However, this intestate was hoarding something entirely different. Stepping into his house was akin to entering a world history museum. Every room was brimming with antiques from around the globe, ranging from intricately carved African masks to delicate Chinese porcelain, Persian rugs, and European paintings. Our intestate had collected an astonishing array of items, each possessing significant historical value. The centrepiece of this collection was an antique great grandfather clock, a valuable asset in its own right, potentially constituting a substantial portion of the estate.

The Beneficiaries

The inheritors of these antiques had a unique connection to the intestate. They were both half-siblings as well as nieces/nephews of the deceased, a result of his adoption by his grandfather while his half-siblings were not adopted. Following the death of the intestate’s mother, his father chose not to care for the child, and the responsibility fell to the grandparents. The father remarried the following year and had children with his second wife. Due to the adoption, these children shared a dual relationship as both nieces/nephews and half-siblings. They were not particularly close to their brother and learned of his passing through contact with our agents.

What Happens Next

Blanchard’s is actively working on this case and anticipates the full estate to be distributed in approximately a year’s time. Managing estates is a time-consuming process, and estates with numerous high-value assets and properties can be even more protracted. We plan to auction many of the antiques found in the property and eagerly await discovering how much they will contribute to the already substantial estate. For more articles like this, please explore our other blogs and follow us on LinkedIn.

This article was submitted to be published by Blanchards Inheritance as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.


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