Make sure your assets aren’t lost when you die
Posted on 12th October 2022
Moving to online banking and turning off paper statements is convenient and popular. However, it’s easy to forget that this means there’s very little to tell your loved ones where your assets are when you die.
If they don’t have access to your digital devices and account details they might never find what you have left behind.
Bank accounts, savings, pensions, shares, cryptocurrencies and other investment assets can be very difficult to track down after your death.
Inheritances could be lost for ever if your executors are unable to find details about your savings. If you have invested in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and haven’t left details of your digital wallet they will never be able to access your funds.
It’s estimated that almost £5billion in total is unclaimed in dormant accounts, share certificates, bonds, apps, and online trading platforms. In fact, it could be much more.
How to find online assets
Assets can be discovered in a number of ways although it can be costly and time-consuming. It can be very difficult if the assets are abroad if you don’t know exactly where accounts are held. There might also be tax implications such as overseas inheritance tax.
Unclaimed estates – you can search the unclaimed estates list on the government’s website or visit the unclaimed estates site to search and put together a claim. The longer ago someone died, the more challenging it can be to find their assets. You will need information and documentation to make your claim and the more information you provide, the better.
Pensions – the workplace pension scheme means that many people are collecting multiple pensions from different providers. In the future this could become an increasing problem as younger people have a variety of jobs in their early career and lose track of pensions linked to them by the time they retire. In many cases it is already causing difficulties for people who have a workplace, company and personal pension schemes. You can find details of over 200,000 pension schemes for free on the government’s website.
You will need information about the companies someone has worked for and ideally who handled their pension scheme to make it easier to find any missing pensions. You can also contact Money Helper.
Bank and savings accounts – you can fill in an online form at mylostaccount.org.uk to find possible missing bank and building society accounts in your friend or relative’s name. You will need information such as addresses they have lived, their date of birth and changes of name due to marriage for example. You will also need their death certificate or a copy of their Will and probate. If any accounts are found you can then contact the organisations directly to access any assets they hold.
Shares – you can look out for old share certificates so you can check if your friend or relative still holds them and there are online share registers like Computershare.
Insurance policies – there are companies online which will try to find unclaimed life insurance and other policies but they will charge a fee. Alternatively, you can visit the Association of British Insurers website for information about how to find policies.
The best way to avoid losing assets is to keep a traditional asset log with your Will so your executors can find details like account numbers.
Please get in touch to discuss options to make sure your friends and relatives can benefit from your assets as you would wish when you die.
Share this post: