Prince Charles’ private estate receives hundreds of thousands of pounds each year from people who pass away in Cornwall without leaving behind them a will or any living relatives.
Due to powers stretching back centuries known as bona vacantia – a term used for ownerless land – all unclaimed property from a person who dies in Cornwall passes to the Duchy of Cornwall, owned by the Prince. This ancient law which dates back to 1337 is unique to Cornwall.
The Duke of Cornwall, however, does not keep any of the money himself. It is distributed in charitable donations through his benevolent fund, with a small amount kept in reserve for future claims on unclaimed estates.
This unusual situation demonstrates the importance of ensuring that you have a valid will in place. Only with a will can you have the peace of mind that upon your passing, your estate will be split amongst the ones you love in accordance with your wishes.
For further information, and advice on obtaining a will, please contact the head of our private client department, Deborah Adams, on 01566 772 375 or at AdamsD@parnalls.com. Parnalls Solicitors is offering a will signing service which operates in accordance with social distancing guidelines.