Justine Clowes, Partner and Head of the Personal and Family Law at SAS Daniels
Greater Manchester and Cheshire based law firm SAS Daniels have dug into their archives to find what they believe to be the oldest unclaimed will in the region.
The firm have nearly fifty unclaimed wills going as far back as 1895 which cover estates which include a farm and a pub, as well as a bicycle, jewellery, sewing machines and paintings.
SAS Daniels say one of the unclaimed wills includes the payment of ten shillings a week to a widower, and the leaving of his stationary business to his assistant.
The man also requested his furniture and belongings to his sons with the threat that the lot be sold should there be any disputes over the sharing of it.
The firm say they digitise the paper copy of any will they hold after 130 years, and that if any beneficiary of wills this old were to come forward, the money will more than likely have been spent and difficult to trace and recover.
Justine Clowes, Partner and Head of the Personal and Family law team at SAS Daniels said: “The age of these Wills highlights how important it is to tell your loved ones you have made a Will and where it is held.
“In spite of going to the effort of seeking professional legal advice and creating a Will, a surprising number of people don’t tell anyone that they’ve done so. This could be for a number of reasons, for example, some people prefer to keep their financial affairs private; or perhaps they intended to update it and never got round to it.
“It’s also not uncommon for someone to keep news of their Will from their family because they’ve excluded a family member, perhaps one of their children from it.
“I can’t stress how important it is to tell people you have a Will in place or if you have made changes to it. Making a Will and ensuring your loved ones know about it is the only way to ensure your wishes will be met after your death.”