Frequently, when we visit hoarder residences, we encounter piles upon piles of refuse. Although there is a saying that “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”, it’s difficult for us to imagine anyone cherishing these items. However, it is a rare occasion for these properties to contain genuine treasures, by any standard. This case is one such example.
Blanchards received this case referral from the bona vacantia, which is the typical way we acquire our cases, ranging from small to large in value. In this instance, the deceased owned property in Canvey Island, Essex, and at the age of 83, he passed away without a Will, having been preceded in death by his wife and son. It appears to be a common trend for widows, widowers, and those who have lost their families to pass away intestate, meaning without a will. Our intestate led a relatively uneventful life aside from his passion for travel, which led him to collect souvenirs and artifacts from far-flung corners of the globe, amassing a significant collection of antiques, particularly from Asia, South America, and Europe.
After contacting relatives, Blanchards and PPS entered the property to begin our initial clearing phase. This involves gaining access to the property to search for any possible will and securing the property to ensure it remains in good condition. The properties we visit can be in deplorable condition, often serving as hoarder houses with heaps of rubbish. However, this intestate was hoarding something entirely different. Upon stepping into his house, it felt like entering a museum of world history. Every room was packed with antiques from all over the world, including intricately carved African masks, delicate Chinese porcelain, Persian rugs, and European paintings. Our intestate had amassed an impressive array of items, with the centrepiece being an antique great grandfather clock that could constitute a significant portion of the estate on its own.
The recipients of the antiques had a unique familial connection as well. These beneficiaries happened to be both half-siblings and nieces and nephews of the intestate. This unusual situation arose because our intestate was adopted by his grandfather, while his half-siblings were not. After his mother’s passing, his father chose not to care for the child, leaving his upbringing to the grandparents. The father later remarried and had children with his new wife. Due to the adoption, these children are both nieces and nephews and half-siblings. They were not particularly close to their brother and only learned of his passing through our agents’ communication.
Blanchard’s are currently actively managing the case and anticipate the full estate to be distributed in approximately a year. Handling estates is a time-consuming process, and estates with numerous high-value assets and properties can take even longer. We will be auctioning off many of the antiques from the property and are eager to see how much they can contribute to the already substantial estate.
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.