Smith Heir Hunters


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Heir hunters track down families of people who have died without leaving a will.

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They hand over thousands of pounds to relatives who had no idea they were in line for a windfall.

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Could they be knocking at your door?

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Today, two very different cases for the heir hunters, involving big money and family secrets.

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Why Marie Smith's refusal to take advice...

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-She should have made a will.

-..resulted in her fortune passing on to someone else.

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She's left several thousand pounds.

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And why for Paul Matthews, heir hunting is like poker.

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-Can you spare me 30 seconds?

-You can never be sure you have a full house.

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Plus a number of unclaimed estates worth nearly a quarter of a million pounds.

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Could you be in line for some money?

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Every year in Britain, over 300,000 people die without leaving a will.

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When no family is found, their money goes to the government. That's when the heir-hunting companies step in.

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Using birth, death and marriage records, they race each other

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to be the first to track down any relatives entitled to inherit.

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Fraser & Fraser is one of the oldest firms of heir hunters in the UK.

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We've found the brother's death.

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In its 30-year history, the company has tracked down over 50,000 heirs,

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entitled to a whopping sum of over 100 million pounds.

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It's just after 7am and at Fraser and Fraser's central London offices, the staff are already hard at it.

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Thursday's the day that the Treasury releases the Bona Vacantia, a list of unclaimed estates.

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Under the guidance of Andrew Fraser, the heir hunters are lining up their choices.

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Number seven sounds like a possible, don't it?

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I'll look into it until we get the death certificate.

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Senior case manager Tony Pledger is running the case of Mrs Marie Smith, assisted by Marcus Herbert.

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By searching Frasers' data on births and marriages, he's already found out information.

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We've identified that Marie Smith was married to James Smith.

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And before she married, she was called Huggett. Born in 1914.

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We know her husband pre-deceased her, so that's all sorted out.

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What we need to do is actually find out if they've got any issue.

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We've got people working on that. And find out if she had any siblings.

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After her husband's death in 1988, Marie Smith lived in the family home in Hampshire for another 19 years.

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Towards the end of her days, she suffered from dementia, but refused any help.

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When the police found Marie, her home had fallen into a sorry state.

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Despite the condition inside, it is a large property in a good area.

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The heir hunters researched the property ownership and find that it's worth around £350,000.

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As property makes up the bulk of someone's fortune, they can estimate that this is the estate's value.

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If Frasers can find any of Marie's relatives, they will be entitled to everything she left behind.

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One of those will be the death of her husband.

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Because the estate is so large, it will attract a lot of attention

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from rival heir hunters, so Tony needs to work fast.

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Marie P.E.E. Huggett. It's on the land registry.

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The researchers will do a sweep of Huggetts by searching through birth, death and marriage records.

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But the most valuable document will be Marie Smith's death certificate.

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And they're hoping the informant may be a potential source of information or even a relative.

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David Pacifico puts in a call to one of Fraser & Fraser's travelling heir hunters, Bob Smith.

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Bob's one of a squad of mobile agents employed by Frasers. They spend their Thursdays at the wheel,

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ready to follow up leads and sniff out clues.

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They also aim to get to any heirs before rival firms

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and sign them up, earning the company a share of the claim.

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At home in East Grinstead, traveller Bob Smith is ready to leap into action.

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And even more so when he hears the value of the estate.

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OK, mate. OK. Cheers, Dave. Bye.

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This morning I'm off to the Register Office in Guildford to pick up a death certificate

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of our deceased Marie Smith who died about 18 months ago.

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Luckily, we won't be researching the name Smith as she was married and her maiden name was Huggett,

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which strikes me as a reasonably unusual name. So in research terms that helps a little bit.

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Certainly there are fewer Huggetts in the world than Smiths, so it will be easier to trace potential heirs.

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Speaking of Huggetts, back in London, Tony and Marcus are getting to grips with that family's tree.

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The first step is to identify Marie's parents. The heir hunters spend days writing family trees.

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They use them like maps to find hidden treasure, working out how a family fits together

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and who is in line to inherit.

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After searching through UK birth, marriage and death records,

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they may have found Marie's parents.

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We found a marriage in 1895 of Walter Thomas Huggett to Clarissa Rapley.

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-But Tony's found a problem.

-We might have found the marriage of the parents,

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but 20 years before she was born.

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It's unlikely they were married for 20 years and just had one child.

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So a little bit more time has got to pass before we get a definite idea.

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As most people would have children soon after marrying,

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a 20-year gap should mean older brothers and sisters and possible stems to investigate.

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But they have to find them first.

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But with three heir hunters on the case, the puzzle is soon solved.

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So we've got Walter J Huggett, Clarissa, Ruby M Huggett, a sister of the deceased,

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and Thomas W W. Right. There could be a shed-load of more of them.

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Soon the heir hunters have filled in a few blanks on the Huggett family tree.

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Marie's parents were Walter and Clarissa Huggett. And she had a sister Ruby and brother Thomas.

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But there's a 16-year space before Marie's birth. So are there any more siblings to add to the list?

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In Guildford, Bob's got some news for Tony.

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-I've got the death certificate of Marie.

-What did she die of?

-Cancer.

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-But there's a fly in the ointment.

-Anglia Research rang up and asked for a copy of the death certificate.

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OK. Ta. Bye. Bye.

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That's upped the ante. The heir hunters now know a rival company is chasing the same job.

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They need to find an heir fast. Bob's on his way to Marie's house.

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I'm going to go down now to the address on the death certificate where she lived

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and make enquiries there with the neighbours and such.

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With the competition hot on their heels, Frasers are pulling out the stops.

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Another travelling heir hunter, Bob Barratt, is sent to Reigate Register Office,

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where Marie, Thomas and Ruby Huggett's births were recorded. They hope he'll find more siblings.

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Frasers have to cover every branch of the family tree.

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We've got an elderly decedent whose grandfather was born in about 1847.

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They want to ensure they have explored every possible heir,

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so they are checking Marie's parents to see if they had any siblings.

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If Marie's siblings had died with no offspring, her cousins inherit.

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The plan is to see who was in the Huggett and Rapley family households when Marie's parents were children,

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so the heir hunters need to go back in time.

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Every ten years since the year 1801,

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the British government has taken a national population survey called the Census.

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From 1841, this listed the names of all the people living at every address in Britain.

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They are only released 100 years after they were taken. Marcus is looking at the 1891 Census.

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The mother appears as a 15-year-old nursemaid on the 1891 Census.

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So I've now got the 1881 Census, I've got that family. That's Rapley, Clarissa Rapley.

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I've always liked doing Censuses.

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We always do this even if we've got nearer kin or it looks like we have

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because if the nearer kin have all died off, we need to look at the cousins.

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And we can't wait as the competition would've got the cousins.

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The race is on for just about everyone.

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-Coming up - Marie Smith's secrets are revealed.

-She might've done a will and left in the wardrobe.

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And the heir hunters have a case of half-brothers separated by time.

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-And when was the last time you saw him?

-17 years ago. I went looking for him to find him for my mother.

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Heir hunters follow clues to find heirs to unclaimed estates,

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ensuring the money goes to them. Could you be due an inheritance?

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Ellen McDonald died in Welwyn Garden City at the age of 75.

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She left £28,000. Are you part of Ellen's family?

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Or do you know someone who might be?

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Pattie Fenella Lawson passed away in Halifax in 1996 at the age of 73

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and left £42,000.

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Are you related to Pattie? Could you be entitled to her cash?

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John Joseph Ryan died in Lewisham in September 2005, aged 89.

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He left £34,000.

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For more information, visit:

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Often, the heir hunters reunite long-lost kin.

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And they can come across relatives who knew nothing of each other's existence.

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The case of William Stirling was one such story. He was a retired engineer and a bachelor

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who had lived in Birmingham. With no obvious next of kin,

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his name soon appeared on the government's Bona Vacantia list.

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It's 7.30am at Fraser & Fraser's offices.

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Neil Fraser and Marcus Herbert are examining William Stirling's case

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as they think it may be of some value.

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They are short on detail and everything rests on his death certificate.

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They hope the person who registered the death might be a friend or relative of William Stirling

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who can tell them more about him. But other firms may be on the same case, so they need information fast.

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OK, mate. I'm OK. Are you all right?

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Marcus gives Frasers' Birmingham based agent, Paul Matthews, a call.

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William Stirling - S-T-I-R-L-I-N-G.

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He dies the 20th of October, 2007, in Birmingham. Haven't got anything else for him at the moment.

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All right, mate. Speak to you in a bit. Right. Where are we now?

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Still haven't got a clue where we're going.

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Aware that other firms may be hot on his heels, Paul heads straight to the Birmingham Register Office.

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-This one will do us.

-Give us a few minutes, we'll see what we can do.

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Hopefully it'll tell us where he was born, the date of birth, and also the informant,

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-as we still don't know if there's value in the estate.

-Right.

-Any joy?

-Good and bad.

-What's the good news?

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-We've got an address for you.

-Nice one.

-And the bad news.

-OK, Glasgow.

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-The informant was with the social services.

-Social services.

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-So we could be having a quiet day then?

-Right. Is that it?

-I think so.

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So it seems there is no shortcut to finding more about William.

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But his former address in Birmingham may be useful to the investigation.

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Paul calls Neil to update him with William's birthplace.

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He was actually born in Glasgow.

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Neil phones their Scottish researcher to get William's birth certificate ordered.

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We have a William Stirling. Now, my information is a bit confusing.

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Paul's at the property where William Stirling lived.

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I'm outside the address in Moseley. Looks as though he's got a flat in a big house,

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so maybe he was renting. But we won't know till I knock on the door.

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Could you spare me 30 seconds? Thanks anyway. Cheers. Bye.

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It's unlikely that many people will be at home at 10am, but Paul's not giving up.

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One last house to try.

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Paul's persistence pays off. But it's not good news.

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He finds out that William Stirling didn't own the flat he lived in.

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As property forms the basis of most estates, it doesn't bode well for the value of William's estate.

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But more than that, he never appeared to receive any visitors.

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Could it mean that he had no close family?

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In the office, the team have been concentrating on this very question.

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Having found out that his birth was in Scotland, they've tracked down William Stirling's parents.

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And it's a bit of a surprise.

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It seems his mother Mary and his father William Carr were never married.

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But a year after William's birth, Mary married Peter Naylor,

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and their children would be William's half-brothers.

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But if he had brothers, why did he die alone?

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-Hello, Neil.

-'Yes?'

-It's not his property.

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-It doesn't sound like there's much money, but we've got the brothers John and George up to date.

-Yes.

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George lives in Stoke-on-Trent, and as you're not doing a huge amount, I was going to ask you to go to?

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-No problem. Speak to you later.

-'Bye.'

-Bye.

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Neil believes the estate must be worth at least £5,000 or it wouldn't be on the government's list.

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As Frasers operate on commission, it's worth pursuing, especially as they think they've found the heirs.

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Now, at the moment, there's £2,500 per beneficiary. It's worth knocking on their door to see if they get it.

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It's not really taken us that long to sort out.

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But it's not something that's going to enable us to retire. It's a tiny bit of money we're dealing with.

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So Paul is going to Stoke-on-Trent to meet William Stirling's half-brother, George Naylor.

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And London-based travelling heir hunter Dave Hadley is travelling to Woolwich

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to meet the other half-brother, John.

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Dave reflects on what he finds to be the toughest part of the job.

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I've got no idea how close he was to his brother

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or if he's had any warning that his brother has passed away.

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Even with his previous experience as a policeman, it's never easy.

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I'll have to use lots of tact, diplomacy and some sympathy

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cos I'll have to tell him that his half-brother is dead.

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On the M6, as Paul is driving 40-odd miles from William's house in Birmingham to Stoke-on-Trent,

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he questions why the brothers had lost touch.

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I don't know if they even knew about each other.

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So as he's illegit, has the mum put him straight out for adoption?

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But having started something off and done some work, it's nice if you can take it to a logical conclusion.

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But will he get a chance to resolve his case? He's arrived at George's house.

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But he doesn't appear to be in.

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Do you live here at all? I'm trying to get hold of Mr Naylor at No 13, George.

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He's usually in, but he must've popped out.

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While Paul strolls around the block, in the office, Neil's following up the Scottish connection.

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The researchers are finding that getting information about William's father is difficult.

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Just leave it as it is. We don't think there's much value on it.

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We'll put through the work on the two brothers we've got. Then we may look at him later.

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Thanks. Bye.

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Coming up - the hunt for the Stirling heirs continues. But will it be worth it?

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There are thousands of pounds of unclaimed cash sitting in the government's coffers.

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Perhaps some of it could be yours.

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Peggy Louise Glover passed away in Cheltenham at the age of 77.

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She left £50,000, but no apparent heirs.

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If you're related to Peggy, you could inherit her fortune.

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Lillian Anne Dennis died in Nottingham in July 2004,

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leaving £30,000. Could you be one of her heirs?

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Joyce Butler passed away in Broomfield, Essex, in 2006.

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Her unclaimed estate is worth £40,000.

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Are you related to Joyce?

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If you know any of these people,

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please look at our website:

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The heir hunters are pursuing the case of William Stirling.

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They are convinced that the case is around £5,000

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and they've tracked down two heirs, his half-brothers.

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In Woolwich, heir hunter Dave Hadley is speaking to one of the brothers,

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John Naylor and his fiancee.

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Now, we believe that a relative of yours, from the Stirling side of the family, passed away last year.

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I don't know how close... How close are you to the Stirling side of the family?

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-That's my mother's side.

-It was your mother's maiden name.

-Yes. My middle name is Stirling, you know that.

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Um... We lost touch with the Stirlings when my grandmother died and I was about 14.

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The person in question is what we call a near heir, in that it's actually your half-brother.

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-I don't know if you were aware of him?

-Yes. I have a half-brother, William. He's dead?

-Yes.

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It was the moment Dave was dreading. And he can see John is shocked.

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And it's a difficult call for Paul up in Stoke-on-Trent.

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He's found William's other half-brother.

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Someone from Frasers' office in London has broken the news to him,

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but the result is the same. It's a shock.

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-I'm sorry about the bad news.

-Where was it, do you know?

-In Birmingham.

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-I've spoken to his landlady.

-We were looking for him.

-Really?

-Yeah.

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-Oh, dear. But he's been with this lady as a tenant for 35 years.

-Yeah. We were looking for him.

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I'm sorry about that.

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-When was the last time you saw him?

-About 17 years ago. We went looking for him to find him for my mother.

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Both brothers had attempted to make contact with William in the past.

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I arranged to meet him one Saturday in a pub in Birmingham, which I did. But I've never seen him since.

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My brother arranged for me to meet him. And I met him to make sure it was him.

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And we arranged to bring my mother to meet him and he wasn't there.

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-So...she was a bit upset.

-Were there any sort of family problems?

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-No.

-Or was he just his own man?

-He just wanted to be on his own, yeah.

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-I won't say there's any love lost between us, but...

-But it's still your half-brother, isn't it?

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That's right. I'd like to know how his life ended up and what he went through.

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I don't know how much is involved.

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They don't publish the figures when they advertise these things.

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I don't know how much you'll be entitled to.

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-This is an awkward time for us. We're getting married next week.

-Congratulations.

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I don't know if this is a good present.

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-He was always careful with his money. He was the quiet one, really.

-Oh, right.

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-Was he a bachelor?

-As far as I know, yeah.

-I don't think he's the marrying type.

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-I doubt he got married.

-You don't know where he was living?

-Last I knew, he was in Birmingham.

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-So how long will it take to sort out?

-Unfortunately, we don't know...

-I'm not bothered about that, anyway.

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-It's just sad that you never managed to find him. Do you know who his father was?

-I've no idea.

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We were always brought up as equals, you know. There was never... My dad never said, "You're not my son."

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That was never mentioned. It was always just...

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That's right and proper and the right way to do things

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-cos there's no reason not to, is there? But he was illegitimate, yeah?

-I suppose you'd call it that.

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-We actually found that his dad was a William Carr.

-William Carr?

-Mean something to you?

-No.

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Paul goes through the paperwork and George agrees to allow Frasers to help him submit his claim.

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-Nice meeting you.

-Thank you.

-All the very best.

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-Thanks very much, Dave.

-OK. And I hope your wedding goes well.

-Thank you.

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But things aren't all signed and sealed in London.

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Dave's left John Naylor the paperwork as he decides he'd like to think it over.

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George, who is closest to William in age, is still coming to terms with the news.

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Shocked. Not expecting this at all.

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Completely out of the blue, you know.

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Um... We just had no... No contact.

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We spent that long looking and never finding him, like, you know.

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An important part of the job for the heir hunters is passing on news like this.

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At least he knows what's happening. So now he's got some sort of closure on it.

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Frasers continue their research into the Stirling case, wanting to ensure they find all the heirs.

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They look closely at the William Carr branch of the tree

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and find out some surprising news.

0:26:060:26:09

Quite by luck and pretty good research in Scotland, we were able to identify a marriage for William Carr.

0:26:090:26:16

He married a Margaret Pearson and had four more children. So these are half-blood siblings of the deceased.

0:26:160:26:23

William's father had married just two years after William was born.

0:26:230:26:28

And he had two sons, Brian and Alexander.

0:26:280:26:32

And then two daughters, Pearl and Wilma.

0:26:320:26:36

All of these children are heirs to William's estate.

0:26:360:26:40

There are now six beneficiaries. If the estate is only £5,000,

0:26:400:26:45

they won't get much each. But there's a twist in the tale.

0:26:450:26:49

We've had some great news, virtually. Whereas we thought it was maybe £5,000, £6,000, £7,000,

0:26:490:26:56

the confirmed value now is £29,000.

0:26:560:26:58

William's paternal half-siblings will receive a welcome windfall.

0:26:580:27:03

But did they know about their brother, William Stirling?

0:27:030:27:08

We've spoken to them and they weren't aware that their father was in a relationship

0:27:080:27:14

prior to him marrying their mother.

0:27:140:27:16

John Naylor has a few ideas of what to do with the money.

0:27:160:27:21

If I get any inheritance, I might take the family on holiday or just generally look after the family.

0:27:210:27:28

And celebrate it a bit. And buy those luxuries that we haven't had.

0:27:280:27:34

Maybe buy myself a nice motorbike.

0:27:340:27:36

But George is more philosophical about it.

0:27:360:27:40

I'd sooner have him than the money.

0:27:400:27:43

Yeah.

0:27:430:27:45

It's 11 o'clock on a Thursday in Fraser & Fraser's office

0:27:520:27:58

and the heir hunters are four hours into the case of Marie Smith.

0:27:580:28:03

It's a valuable estate of £350,000. But they haven't made much progress.

0:28:030:28:08

Anglia Research asked for a copy of the death certificate.

0:28:080:28:12

With rival companies in the race to find heirs, they need results fast.

0:28:120:28:17

Case manager Marcus Herbert has received some exciting news from Bob Barratt at Reigate Register Office.

0:28:170:28:25

Bob's phoned and he's done a general search and managed to identify three other siblings of the deceased.

0:28:250:28:32

That brings the total to five. Lillian Mabel Huggett born in 1901,

0:28:320:28:37

but after the '01 Census, which is why she didn't show up. Mum was probably pregnant at the time.

0:28:370:28:44

Dorothy Winifred C Huggett - the C must be Clarissa after her mum.

0:28:440:28:49

There's a Leslie Scott SJK Huggett. I don't know what the "SJK" is.

0:28:490:28:54

So we've got five siblings of the deceased. And we now know that the deceased didn't have any issue,

0:28:540:29:01

so we're hoping of one of her brothers or sisters, there'll be children from there.

0:29:010:29:08

It's a breakthrough. That crucial information takes the case to a new level.

0:29:080:29:14

The heir hunters have completed the second tier on the family tree.

0:29:140:29:19

They found that Marie had five brothers and sisters -

0:29:190:29:23

Ruby, Thomas, Lillian, Dorothy and Leslie.

0:29:230:29:27

But all five of them are dead.

0:29:270:29:29

However, there's still hope. If any of Marie's siblings had children,

0:29:290:29:34

they would be her heirs.

0:29:340:29:37

Frasers must get to them before the competition.

0:29:370:29:42

Mobile agent Bob Smith is in Marie Smith's old neighbourhood.

0:29:420:29:47

He's hoping her neighbours can shed more light on Marie's family connections.

0:29:470:29:53

Nobody home.

0:29:530:29:55

Sorry to bother you. I'm enquiring about the lady who lived next door.

0:29:560:30:01

-There is a niece somewhere.

-Right. Interesting.

0:30:010:30:05

It's confirmed their hopes.

0:30:050:30:08

There was a niece who never visited. But a neighbour used to visit Marie, so we'll try and contact her.

0:30:080:30:15

So Marie did have one regular visitor, but it wasn't a relative.

0:30:150:30:20

Perhaps she can fill them in on possible family members. But Bob's not sure how to find this woman.

0:30:200:30:28

By luck, another local provides the answer.

0:30:280:30:31

-She's moved over to Firglen Drive.

-Called Pat?

-That's right.

0:30:310:30:36

-There's an entry to an unmade road.

-Oh, right.

0:30:360:30:41

A simple task, or so it would seem.

0:30:410:30:45

Negotiate all the potholes.

0:30:500:30:53

He's beginning to wonder if he should have packed his wellies.

0:30:530:30:58

They're all up that road there.

0:30:580:31:00

They're not called travelling heir hunters for nothing.

0:31:000:31:05

Bob may not be making progress, but in the office they're forging ahead.

0:31:050:31:11

They've tracked down a marriage

0:31:110:31:14

for Marie's brother Thomas to Dora Miller.

0:31:140:31:18

Then they've traced a daughter, Vera. Could this be Marie's niece?

0:31:180:31:23

Born in 1920, this would make her rather elderly,

0:31:230:31:27

which may explain why she stopped visiting Marie.

0:31:270:31:31

Oh, it's a lake, a fishing lake.

0:31:350:31:38

Eugh!

0:31:380:31:40

Beats walking on a farm.

0:31:400:31:43

Bob's arrived at Marie Smith's former neighbour's house.

0:31:430:31:47

Success.

0:31:470:31:49

He hopes she'll know more about Marie's niece.

0:31:490:31:53

-Mr Johnstone?

-Yes.

-I was hoping to speak to your wife.

0:31:530:31:57

The husband of the ex-neighbour is home.

0:31:570:32:01

-Apart from having a key to get in and out...

-There was no other real communication about the family?

0:32:010:32:08

-No. She is aware that there is a niece.

-But I'll leave my card with you.

-If we come up with anything...

0:32:080:32:15

Yes, particularly about the niece.

0:32:150:32:18

There's that mention of the niece again, but no name. And Bob's had his fill of country lanes.

0:32:180:32:25

In the office, Tony Pledger's been doing some research

0:32:280:32:33

into two of Marie's sisters, Lillian and Dorothy.

0:32:330:32:37

We knew Dorothy married Arthur Baker. We knew there was a Lillian as well.

0:32:370:32:43

It turns out that Lillian has also married a Mr Baker. So Lillian has married John Baker.

0:32:430:32:50

Dorothy's married Arthur Baker. There's two brothers married two sisters.

0:32:500:32:56

But their children would all be called Baker.

0:32:560:33:01

But until you got their certificate, you wouldn't be able to tell which couple the children went with.

0:33:010:33:08

Through records on file, the heir hunters have found a Gwyneth Baker,

0:33:080:33:13

another niece, and she was born nine years after her cousin Vera.

0:33:130:33:17

But as Lillian and Dorothy Huggett married two men called Baker,

0:33:170:33:23

they can't tell her exact parentage, making it difficult to trace her.

0:33:230:33:28

They cross-reference the birth and marriage records, and it's not long till they find something.

0:33:280:33:35

Roger's found a Gwyneth L Baker, born in 1929, in...

0:33:350:33:40

Wandsworth. So we will be doing a marriage for that in a moment. But that is a niece of the deceased.

0:33:400:33:47

So unless she's died off as an infant,

0:33:470:33:51

we'll get nieces, nephews, which is great so we don't have to go back on it.

0:33:510:33:57

So that now means they have two possible nieces for Marie Smith.

0:33:570:34:03

But as they were born in the '20s, they may be already deceased.

0:34:030:34:07

Bob's back at the car and phones his news through to Tony.

0:34:070:34:11

I finally spoke to Mr Johnstone. Apparently the deceased was not a very popular person

0:34:110:34:18

-and nobody really wanted to know her, sort of thing, so...

-OK. Bye.

-'Bye.'

0:34:180:34:25

It's just after lunchtime and at HQ, Marcus is feeling just fine.

0:34:300:34:36

Trawling marriage records has got a result.

0:34:360:34:40

Roger's found a marriage of Gwyneth Baker to a Mr Ward, niece of the deceased.

0:34:400:34:46

Tony calls the woman he hopes is Gwyneth Ward.

0:34:460:34:51

This could be their first heir.

0:34:510:34:53

-'Gwyneth Ward.'

-Mrs Ward, it's Tony Pledger from Fraser & Fraser.

0:34:530:34:58

He's found his woman. She is the niece and the sole survivor of the Huggett clan.

0:34:580:35:05

The other niece, Vera, died and there were no other children.

0:35:050:35:10

So Dorothy had a sister, Lillian? Right. OK.

0:35:100:35:15

Tony has to break the news of Marie Smith's death.

0:35:150:35:19

Unfortunately, your Auntie Marie has passed away.

0:35:190:35:24

We think that she's left possibly several thousand pounds, but doesn't appear to have left a will.

0:35:240:35:31

Well, she might've done a will and left it in the wardrobe!

0:35:310:35:36

But we don't think there is a valid will. I was wondering if one of our researchers could call and see you?

0:35:360:35:44

As the last of her generation,

0:35:440:35:47

she is now the only heir and is entitled to the whole of her aunt's £350,000 estate.

0:35:470:35:55

Tony needs to get someone out to sign Gwyneth up fast.

0:35:550:35:59

Have you been approached by anybody else? Yeah? Um... There is a possibility.

0:35:590:36:05

That's lovely. We'll make your acquaintance later on. Thanks. Bye.

0:36:050:36:11

She's confirmed that she's the only heir. Made an arrangement for us to go and see her at three o'clock.

0:36:110:36:18

Excellent. Who are we sending?

0:36:180:36:20

I don't know. I've got to find out where everybody is. But that's something to firm up on.

0:36:200:36:27

They have no time to waste. Tony phones Bob Barratt, who is searching for Huggett births in Reigate.

0:36:290:36:36

-Hi, Bob. Whatever you're doing we want you to stop as we've got one niece entitled on this job.

-Right.

0:36:360:36:44

-She lives in Loughton, Essex.

-Right.

-So we need you to go out there, hopefully for three o'clock.

-OK.

0:36:440:36:51

Right.

0:36:510:36:53

But just as Bob Barratt hits the road...

0:36:570:37:02

the intrepid Bob Smith gets wind of the race. He wants in on the action.

0:37:020:37:07

-Bob?

-'Hello.'

-Bob, hi. It's Bob Smith.

-'Hello, mate. How are you?'

0:37:070:37:12

Do you want me to do this appointment because I've done all the enquiring?

0:37:120:37:18

-That would be even better, wouldn't it?

-Yeah. Cheers.

0:37:180:37:22

So as Bob Barratt returns to base, one hour and several hairy traffic moments later,

0:37:240:37:31

Bob arrives at Loughton. But has he made it before the competition?

0:37:310:37:37

Hi, Mr Ward. Hi. It's Robert Smith.

0:37:410:37:44

The first job is to check a few family details.

0:37:440:37:48

Now, Mrs Ward, I understand you spoke with Mr Pledger, and he explained to you

0:37:480:37:55

-that your Aunt Marie who was Mrs...

-"Mairi."

-"Mairi", sorry. She was Mrs Smith.

0:37:550:38:02

-She died sometime last year.

-Mm-hm.

-If I may, I'd like to go through a little questionnaire with you

0:38:020:38:09

to ask you what you know about your family and Marie herself. And you were born as Baker?

0:38:090:38:16

-Your date of birth?

-23rd November, 1929.

0:38:160:38:21

-And what was your mother's name?

-Lillian Mabel Huggett.

0:38:210:38:26

Marie Smith is seen here in the blue suit at Gwyneth's wedding in the 1940s.

0:38:260:38:32

Bob wonders why they didn't keep in contact.

0:38:320:38:36

-She was a very nice person and at other times she was horrible.

-Yeah.

-She was super to her friends.

0:38:360:38:43

-Very, very generous. And then she told us never to contact her again.

-Really?

-This is why we haven't.

0:38:430:38:50

-We haven't been neglecting her.

-Sure.

-It was her request.

-Really?

-She thought we were after her money.

0:38:500:38:57

Gwyneth was once very close to her aunt, seen here together when she was a little girl.

0:38:570:39:03

A neighbour said she would upset people

0:39:030:39:06

-and it had put off people wanting to help her.

-She couldn't be close with two people at the same time.

0:39:060:39:13

-But she did suffer from dementia.

-We said she ought to make a will and she got uppity about it.

0:39:130:39:20

And so we left it. We thought, "If she makes a will, that's fine. Her money will go somewhere else.

0:39:200:39:27

"But if she doesn't, I shall get the last laugh." And I had it today.

0:39:270:39:33

But lots of people do think making a will spells the end for them.

0:39:330:39:39

-Anyway...

-It's a pity. It really is.

0:39:390:39:42

Gwyneth is obviously upset that her aunt was so prickly.

0:39:420:39:47

There's a terrible irony to why she lost touch with Marie.

0:39:470:39:52

We wondered what would happen. And I thought, "Well, if she's made a will, I'll hear no more.

0:39:520:39:59

"If she hasn't, I wonder if anybody will ever contact me because I am her only living relative?"

0:39:590:40:06

So when I heard this, I was rather thrilled to think that I had won

0:40:060:40:11

and she didn't do what I told her to do!

0:40:110:40:15

-Thanks very much.

-Thank you very much indeed.

-Thank you.

-Bye-bye.

0:40:150:40:20

Bye-bye.

0:40:220:40:24

Despite fierce competition from at least two companies, Bob was first to meet the heirs,

0:40:240:40:31

and he's left the paperwork for them to consider.

0:40:310:40:35

-'Hello, Bob.'

-Hello, Andrew. I've just finished the interview.

0:40:350:40:40

I haven't signed as they've got an appointment tomorrow with Kin UK.

0:40:400:40:45

It went as well as I think. It went very well, yeah. It went very well. Yeah. Yeah.

0:40:450:40:52

It's a month later. Gwyneth Ward has agreed to sign with Frasers.

0:40:590:41:04

And today, partner Andrew Fraser is meeting her at her Aunt Marie's house to discuss its sale.

0:41:040:41:12

-Morning, Gwyneth.

-Good morning.

-Welcome to your aunt's house.

-Yes.

0:41:120:41:17

-Please be warned, it's not great inside.

-Yes. OK.

0:41:170:41:21

The house is still in the same state as when Marie lived and died there.

0:41:210:41:26

Thank you very much. Oh. It is a bit of a mess. There's flies around.

0:41:260:41:32

It's a shame that people are allowed to live like this and it's left as it is.

0:41:340:41:40

But everyone probably offered help, but she wouldn't accept it. And unfortunately, that is what happens.

0:41:400:41:48

-I often think this is so sad, really.

-Yes.

0:41:520:41:56

In the office, there's the excitement of trying to find people.

0:41:560:42:02

And it all starts with very sad stories.

0:42:020:42:05

Despite the bad blood between her aunt and herself, Gwyneth would like to honour her memory.

0:42:050:42:12

You must've thought about what to do with this large sum of money when you actually do receive it?

0:42:120:42:19

Some of it I'll give to charities that my aunt would've liked it to go to.

0:42:190:42:25

I'll do that. Then I shall give it to my son and my daughter, the majority of it.

0:42:250:42:32

And then I shall go to South Africa.

0:42:320:42:34

This is a chance for her to reflect on her relationship with her aunt.

0:42:340:42:40

I don't feel guilty about it because I did what I could. And it was her choice.

0:42:400:42:46

It's a shame the place is in the state it's in when she was so careful with it.

0:42:460:42:52

But that's one of those things, isn't it?

0:42:520:42:56

Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd 2008

0:43:170:43:21

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0:43:210:43:24

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