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Every Thursday morning across the UK,
heir hunting companies scan the Treasury's list
of recent unclaimed estates.
In London, one company has found a case that could be worth
a possible £400,000.
Their job is to find the long-lost relatives who have no idea
they could be in line for a windfall.
Could they be knocking at your door?
On today's programme, the team chases the heirs
to a £400,000 estate after a will goes drastically wrong.
He must be turning in his grave now
to find that the money will be going to somebody he never met
and never knew.
And one man's secretive past leaves heir hunters and friends guessing
as to whether there are any beneficiaries
to his £38,000 inheritance.
I get the feeling he'd either fallen out with his parents
or his parents were dead.
And how you could be entitled to unclaimed estates
where beneficiaries need to be found.
Could you be in line for a cash payout?
Every year in the UK, an estimated 300,000 people die
without leaving a will.
If no relatives are found,
then any money that's left behind will go to the government.
And, last year, they made £12 million from unclaimed estates.
But there are over 30 specialist firms competing
to stop this happening.
They're called heir hunters and they make it their business
to track down missing relatives
and help them claim their rightful inheritance.
It's one of the very, very few jobs in the world where you can,
basically, discover things for a living.
It's a Thursday morning in London
and, overnight, the Treasury has advertised a new list of names
of unclaimed estates.
Heir hunting company Fraser & Fraser are searching the lists
for cases to investigate.
Having picked names they think could have value,
the estates the company will work are divided up
amongst the case managers in the office.
Some look more difficult to work than others.
Looks like we've got a case called Gordon Arthur Smith,
died in, erm, Dorset.
Smith is one of the most common surnames in the UK.
For this reason, most heir hunting firms normally run a mile,
as they don't have the manpower or resources to take on
such a potentially time-consuming case.
But partner Neil is willing to gamble.
Get in there and don't waste any time.
It's not an easy name to work,
it's not a good combination of initials to work
and it's not really a great Christian name to work.
Erm, so it's going to be quite tricky to get on.
We can't find his address, there's just too many of them around.
But case manager David Milchard,
known in the office as Grimble, has decades of experience
in the world of probate research
and has dealt with many a Smith case before.
-The same name.
-A bit challenging, really.
Challenging or not,
Neil suspects there could be a lot of money in this estate.
If there are heirs out there, the team hope to find them.
Gordon Arthur Smith died in May 2009 in the Wimborne area of Dorset.
He passed away aged 81.
His neighbour Pamela Jury remembers him fondly.
Extremely friendly. He was just so nice, so welcoming.
Because Gordon died without leaving a valid will,
his estate was advertised on the Treasury's list
and this is where the heir hunters begin their work.
Grimble passes the case to researcher Isha Adams
who has the unenviable task of getting the basic research under way.
Smith is a terrible name to work.
And all we've been given is a place of death, which is in Dorset.
Um, so, basically, we're just going to try and find an address for him.
Before the team can move any further with the case, they need to work out
exactly which Gordon Smith they need to be looking into.
Using the electoral roll, Isha finds an address in Dorset
where Gordon could have lived.
I'm going to have to ring a few people and see whether or not
they still live there and whether or not it's our deceased or not.
Ringing the potential neighbours of the deceased can be
an extremely helpful exercise for the heir hunters.
It allows them to whittle down the numerous Gordon Smiths
recorded as living in Dorset.
Good morning. Very sorry to trouble you, sir.
My name's David Slee,
I'm with a company in London by the name of Fraser & Fraser.
We're endeavouring to trace the next-of-kin of a gentleman
who's died by the name of Gordon Arthur Smith.
But after a brief exchange...
Good, that's all I needed to know, sir. I've got the wrong family.
Thanks for your time, sir. Bye-bye.
Despite this set back, at least the team can eliminate
one of many Gordon Smiths from their list.
And, across the office,
Isha has made a small but significant break through.
We have the date of birth now
and there are three possible births that...
Two possible births, then.
There were three births, one has a third Christian name.
We've been able to eliminate him because he dies.
Got the other two.
One's born in West Ham, that looks the best of the two.
The other one's born in the Sheffield area.
Again, they use the electoral roll to try and find addresses
and people who may have known the deceased.
David manages to speak to a neighbour
who lived next door to a Gordon Smith.
Did you know Mr Smith at all?
Did Mr and Mrs Smith own their property, then?
They did, they owned the property, yeah.
This is the news the heir hunters have been waiting for.
Not only has David found the right Gordon Smith,
the neighbour also tells him that Gordon owned his house.
This confirms what Neil suspected,
that the estate could be worth as much as £400,000.
From speaking to people who knew the deceased
they start to build a picture of his life.
Gordon and his wife June retired to St Leonards in Ringwood, Dorset,
after having lived and worked in Sheffield for most of their lives.
Childhood sweethearts, they'd gone to school together
and later married in 1953.
The pair were inseparable.
They were a lovely couple and so helpful, very sociable.
And, um, we got to know them, you know, reasonably well,
June's niece Jacqueline Stobbs remembers
just how happy the couple were during their retirement.
Gordon and June called Ringwood their little piece of paradise.
It's about, over 30 years, they moved down here.
Cos they loved it down here.
My auntie loved the beach and she loved the place.
Sadly, June died in 2007, followed by Gordon in 2009.
The heir hunters have discovered
he passed away leaving a property worth an estimated £400,000.
It's a massive amount of money and, in order to beat any competition
that may be out there, the team need to get moving fast.
We're going to need him up there as soon as poss, so...
Don't worry about what he's doing.
The team scrambles to get a travelling heir hunter on his way.
If Gordon was born in Sheffield, it's a very strong possibility
that, if he had any family, they will be in that neck of the woods.
Ewart Lindsay is one of the company's squadron
of senior researchers
who are willing to go wherever a case takes them.
At the moment, he's cruising to Leigh-on-Sea on another job,
but the news from the office changes everything.
'This is serious, this is not a drill.
'Please, turn around and go to Sheffield.'
-'Sheffield. Up north of Sheffield.'
This is not the news Ewart was hoping for.
God, Leigh-on-Sea, look where I am? Leigh-on-Sea!
Why did they divert me from Leigh-on-Sea?
No stroll on the beach and stick of rock this time for Ewart.
He immediately turns around and heads north...
..while the team in the office begin their hunt
for any of Gordon's relatives in the Sheffield area.
Case manager David has got hold of a telephone number
for the deceased's brother-in-law.
I just wondered if you could tell me anything
about Gordon's family or any background that might help us.
But the brother-in-law isn't keen to help with David's inquiries.
It seems that the family are far from happy
Gordon's estate was advertised, as he had actually written a will.
Thank you very much, sir. Bye-bye.
Wouldn't tell us anything.
Cos the will was executed incorrectly, cost them 300,000.
-It's in the hands of his solicitor,
but he knows it's gone to the Treasury.
"I don't see why I should help you."
The team were not expecting this.
David has been told that, after Gordon's death,
the brother-in-law's family actually put a case forward to the Treasury,
but the High Court Family Division deemed
Gordon's will had been written incorrectly
and, therefore, wasn't valid.
This meant it would be treated as an intestate case,
exactly the same as if Gordon left no will at all.
Although he wasn't willing
to help the heir hunters investigate their case,
Gordon's brother-in-law John is still in shock
at the bad news the family got from the Treasury.
Gordon died and we found out the will wasn't done properly.
Jacqueline Stobbs is Gordon's niece through marriage.
He must be turning in his grave now
to find that the money will be going to somebody he never met
and never knew.
The inheritance would have changed our life a lot.
My son could have gone to university without me worrying
where I'm going to get the money from.
And my uncle would have been so happy to know
that his money would have gone towards my son's education.
John was Gordon's brother-in-law and, through his sister June,
had known Gordon since their school days.
The pair were firm friends.
When June died before Gordon,
it prompted him to get his affairs in order
and make sure his estate would go to those closest to him.
My uncle realised we wouldn't inherit after my auntie died
because we weren't blood relatives.
And was very, very worried about the situation,
so he wanted to make a will.
Which Gordon promptly did with a little help from his friends.
I went and witnessed his signature and that was it,
as far as I was concerned.
But the family later discovered
the accountancy company Gordon employed to oversee his will
didn't complete the paperwork correctly
and, later, went into liquidation.
It was a sickening blow for the Hobbs family,
on top of having to come to terms with the loss of a much loved sister
Oh, we miss Gordon and June.
It was a shock when June died, it was a shock to the family.
We never thought she was going to go first.
It was, in part, due to June's unexpected death
which led to the will being drawn up quickly
and whilst Gordon was in poor health.
It highlights the crucial importance
of having a will prepared in good time and by a professional.
Back in the offices,
although sympathetic, the team still have their job to do...
And, justifiably, Mr Hobbs is not going to help us in our inquiry,
so we'll have to do it alone.
..tracking the blood heirs to Gordon's £400,000 estate.
The Hobbs family may not think it's fair,
but it's better the money goes to Gordon's relatives,
rather than ending up in the government's coffers.
Researchers Isha and David now know Gordon
and his wife June had no children.
This means the team must start tracing his family back,
in the hope of finding cousins or nieces and nephews of Gordon's.
We've got a potential marriage for the parents on Smith,
which makes the father Arthur C Smith.
This is a great result, but the team knows, when it comes to Smith cases,
this could be the opening of a Pandora's box.
Coming up, Gordon's heirs are coming thick and fast,
but can travelling heir hunter Ewart keep up?
-'Any idea how long it'll be before you get to Sheffield?'
Every Thursday morning,
when the Treasury's list of unclaimed estates is advertised,
heir hunting companies scramble to try and be the first
to find the beneficiaries to an estate.
But when taking on a case,
there are no guarantees that a family's history
will be based solely in the UK.
And during the research,
the heir hunters can find themselves looking all over the world
for the clues they need to find the rightful heirs.
Michael Martello Gray died on the 17th January 2007.
He was just 61 years old and passed away without leaving a will.
As a bachelor, he'd lived his entire adult life
in a flat in Kingston.
This was the same flat he'd spent part of his childhood growing up in
and, therefore, Michael was well known in the building.
I moved in here,
sort of, about 12-15 years ago
and I think he made himself known to me,
either by just popping over and introducing himself
because he wasn't backward at coming forward with new neighbours.
He would like to know very much
about who was going to be in the building
and what they were going to be doing.
Despite Michael's active interest in others,
he was an extremely private individual.
This is the only photo that survives of him,
as a young child on the beach with his mum.
But for all the conversations and jokes Helen shared with Michael
over the years, she still thinks she never properly knew the real man.
He was very friendly, but also he did keep an awful lot back.
After his death,
Michael's estate was advertised on the Treasury's list.
Heir hunting company Fraser & Fraser picked up the job.
I first got the case for Michael Gray on the Thursday morning
and we started our research then.
And we knew the value at the time was £38,000,
so we knew it was worthwhile looking into chasing any family members.
The first thing the heir hunters did was to try and find
Michael's birth certificate,
as this would contain details of who his parents were.
Normally, the Gray surname would be a nightmare for the team to work
due to its common use.
But not this time.
The interesting part about his name was that Martello Gray was...
the fact it was an unusual second name and, obviously,
we believe to be an old family name.
But it was Michael's age, not his distinctive name,
that would really focus the way the heir hunters approached
the beginning of this case.
Well, we knew he was quite young when he died,
so we'd got to make sure there was no very close kin.
For example, his parents...
..conceivably, could still be alive.
Family was a subject that even those who knew Michael
couldn't really help with.
Never had any family visit him that I'm aware of.
I get the feeling he'd either fallen out with his parents
or his parents were dead.
David had to go with what they had.
Using the details recorded on Michael's birth certificate,
he discovered his parents were a Jack Gray and Eileen Gardiner.
So we looked for the death of the parents and traced
and identified the death of his father in 1962.
And the father was comparatively young.
And... And couldn't find the death of the mother.
Michael's father Jack Stuart Gray had died aged just 44 years old.
David turned his attention on what mother Eileen did next.
We subsequently identified a remarriage for her,
which took place, I believe, some ten years after when her husband died.
Um... And, subsequently, we were then able to identify her death
David had now discovered the deaths of both Michael's parents
and his research suggested that Michael was their only child.
Michael's life was a bit of a mystery but, from the research,
small glimpses of Michael's background began to emerge.
The marriage certificate of the parents shows the father,
an architect, civil engineer
and residing at the Air Ministry in Shepperton,
which seems to signify that he could have been posted abroad.
Michael's father Jack was a civil architect
who worked for the Air Ministry in the 1950s.
The Ministry was first created in 1918 to oversee the creation
of the Royal Air Force.
It was a job that took him and his family to Aden in the Yemen,
situated in the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula.
During the 1950s,
it was not at all uncommon for an Air Ministry employee,
who was involved on air field or Air Ministry construction,
to be posted and to take their entire family
to the place to which they were posted.
Some places were a lot more favoured than others.
Aden was not one of the most favoured places to go.
Aden is a seaport city in the Yemen.
It's located on the eastern approach to the Red Sea.
In the period the Gray family were posted there,
it would have been a bustling town full of commerce.
During the mid-1950s,
Aden was, typically, a very, very busy seaport,
positioned, as it was, almost at the centre of the routes
to the Middle and Far East.
It was often referred to, at that time,
as being the second busiest port in the world, behind New York.
George Reeve is an expat who was also stationed in Aden
during the same period as the Gray family.
He can still remember his corporal's reaction to his far-flung posting.
He looked and me and said, "You poor devil," he said.
I said, "What's the matter?" He said, "Don't you know about Aden?" I said, "No, Corporal."
He said, "Sand, sun and a statue of Queen Victoria."
And he was dead right, that's all there was.
For the British working in Aden, it was a hot, inhospitable landscape.
George still remembers his first experience of the Yemen climate.
I arrived in the dark and the door opened
and it was like Mum opening the door into the oven.
And the heat, the heat you get when you take the roast out.
It was unbelievable.
It couldn't have been more different
from the Britain the Gray family had left behind.
It rained about three weeks after I got there and I was rather shocked
because the airmen all ran out in their underwear to get wet through.
And dancing around and screaming and shouting.
And I said to one of them, I said, "What the hell's going on?"
He said, "You'll see." And I did see.
It didn't rain for another 21 months.
As postings went, it was notoriously one of the worst.
Facilities were extremely basic for both single servicemen
and families like the Grays.
But this was just the tip of the iceberg in this harsh land.
Aden has really, um, dogged me for the rest of my life.
And what gets you there is the poverty, and I mean poverty.
Poverty like you have never, never experienced.
There was always the possibility of running into a riot.
If you wandered out of bounds, which you shouldn't have done,
there's always the danger of being robbed.
Not exactly the place you'd ideally want to take your family
and it was the children of the servicemen
and Air Ministry employees who suffered most.
Children like Michael.
Our sergeant in the department next door to us,
I said to her one morning, "You've got a long face."
She said, "Well, our daughter died last night.
"We came over from the mess and the ayah was beside herself,
"didn't know what to do.
"And we took the baby to sick quarters and she died."
It was in this world
that the young Michael Gray would have found himself.
But it is the very fact that the Gray family moved all over the world
that could make the hunt for Michael's heirs
to his £38,000 estate even harder.
To discover whether Michael had any brothers or sisters,
David searches from Hong Kong to the Yemen.
It is a problem that there may be children
that we can't trace the birth to.
Could you be in line for an unexpected windfall?
In the UK, the Treasury has a list of over 2,000 estates
that, over the years, have baffled the heir hunters
and still remain unclaimed.
This is money that could have your name on it.
These estates can stay on the list for up to 30 years
and each one could be worth anything from several thousand pounds
to many millions.
Today, we're focusing on three names from the list.
Could they be relatives of yours?
Abdul Aziz Ismaili died in Holloway, London in 2004 aged 79.
His surname Ishmaili is extremely rare in the UK,
but, despite this, all efforts to trace his heirs have failed.
Or did you know Ethel Knowles?
She died in 1999 in Kendal, Cumbria.
If no heirs are found to her estate, the money will go to the government.
Or, finally, Margery Junita Olsen Bateman?
She died in 2004 in Bognor Regis, West Sussex.
Her surname is very common but her first three names are anything but.
Did you know Margery?
If the names Abdul Aziz Ismaili, Ethel Knowles
or Margery Junita Olsen Bateman mean anything to you,
then you could have a windfall on its way.
Heir hunter David Pacifico took on the case
of Michael Martello Gray in 2009.
Michael died aged just 61 without leaving a will
and, seemingly, without any family.
His friends in the apartment block
where he'd spent most of his adult life
remember him as a quirky character.
Um, quite difficult to get to know, he was very private.
During the hunt for the heirs to his £38,000 estate,
David discovered Michael's father was employed by the Air Ministry
and worked abroad in countries ranging from Hong Kong to the Yemen.
All of this with his wife and young son Michael in tow.
Michael's upbringing in far-flung lands hadn't gone unnoticed
by his friends.
I wouldn't be surprised if he'd been brought up all over the world,
that wouldn't surprise me cos he certainly had a very good knowledge
and a keen interest in things.
But that would just be an assumption on my part,
I have no idea what he got up to as a kid.
His exotic childhood could potentially be a stumbling block
for the heir hunters in tracing any brothers or sisters
Michael may have had.
The problems that could occur with families living abroad is to,
if they had children born abroad.
Now, if the father was in the army,
we may find births of children in the army records.
From checking the public records and army records for any other births
in the family, David was confident that Michael was an only child.
Because we knew there was no close kin,
we looked at aunts and uncles of the deceased.
And it's quite possible that maybe one or two might still be alive.
Because of the ages.
But, subsequently, we didn't find any alive.
Michael's father Jack had three siblings,
all of whom had passed away.
David now turned his attention to their children.
The branch of the family we subsequently traced
was of the deceased father's brother
in which he initially had three children.
And, subsequently, we found two of them were still alive.
So there were two surviving first cousins of the deceased.
David had found his first heirs to Michael's £38,000 estate.
His uncle had had three children, one of whom had died.
This left a son alive and also a daughter called Anne.
Anne Gray was surprised to be receiving a call
from the heir hunters.
Well, you don't really go round expecting anyone to contact you
when you've been left some money.
I mean, it's a nice thought and I wish someone would leave me
a lot of money.
But you don't expect it to happen. So, yes, I was stunned.
Anne helped a great deal with confirming
what David had already discovered in his research.
But when it came to her late cousin, it was a different story.
I haven't seen Michael for 60 years.
I hardly remember him, actually.
Just a little, blonde, brown-eyed creature.
Anne may not have remembered Michael,
but she certainly remembered his father Jack.
She knew him as Uncle Stuart, his middle name.
My uncle Stuart was tall, handsome, brown-eyed, very dashing.
And then he drove this very smart, little car.
I had a feeling it was a MG, but I'm beginning to wonder,
it might have been a Riley open car.
Dashing as he was, he was a fleeting visitor in her life,
dashing halfway around the world for his career.
I didn't see Uncle Stuart that often
because, A, he lived in London and we lived in Yorkshire.
And, B, he was in Aden or Hong Kong
or wherever the Air Ministry sent him.
Anne's memories aren't just of her uncle Stuart,
she also fondly remembers Michael's mother.
She was very kind to me, actually,
because she used to bring me bracelets
and things that she'd tired of.
Nothing, sort of, you know, diamonds and sapphires, just kids' bracelets.
So she was quite kind to me.
To David Pacifico's delight,
Anne was able to shed more light on both Michael's aunts and uncles.
David now had a complete tree for the Gray family.
Michael's grandparents had four children.
This led to four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
This meant a total of four heirs on the paternal side of the family
and, through Michael's mother Eileen,
even more were added to the list.
In total, there were, um, 12 heirs in total.
Um, and four on the paternal side of the family.
And eight that are scattered all over the world
on the maternal side of the family.
Throughout the hunt, Michael's adult life has remained a mystery.
And it seems his childhood of travelling all over the world
was sharply contrasted by his later life, spent mostly in Kingston.
His £38,000 estate will now be divided
amongst the family he barely knew,
most of whom are now globetrotters like he was in his youth.
Gordon Smith died in 2009 aged 81,
leaving a £400,000 estate and a will.
But, after his death, everything went wrong.
And we found out the will wasn't done properly.
His brother-in-law John Hobbs and his family cared for Gordon
in his later years,
after his devoted wife June passed away unexpectedly
from a heart attack.
We were devastated by the news because we just couldn't see,
sort of, almost, what it would be like not to have June next door.
And we didn't think that Gordon would be able to cope on his own.
He could hardly walk.
He couldn't see very well cos he had two cataracts.
And he was very, very frail.
And I went nearly every day, took his shopping, got his meal ready,
cleaned the house, any odd jobs to do.
The Hobbs family didn't only lose a close friend in Gordon -
due to his will being completed incorrectly,
they also lost every penny of the money
Gordon had originally tried to leave to them.
We know what Gordon wanted. And it's horrible, it really is horrible.
The family may feel entitled to the inheritance but, by law,
the money can't go to them because the will was deemed invalid.
In such cases,
the law states only Gordon's blood relatives can claim the estate.
Finding them is the job of the heir hunters,
who, despite hearing John's story, can do little to help.
Their only objective now is to find Gordon's rightful heirs
and try and make sure his money doesn't end up
going into the government's coffers.
It's got to be. It's got to be something related to this.
The team has made amazing progress,
whittling down all the Gordon Smiths till they found their man.
Gordon's parents were Arthur Smith and Gladys Dickens.
They married in 1923 and had two children.
Sadly, Gordon's older brother died as an infant.
With no possibility of nieces and nephews,
the team must now look for uncles and aunties of the deceased.
This could lead them to Gordon's cousins.
Born Arthur Cooper Smith in '01 in Wortley.
The team track down Gordon's grandparent's names
and use them to check the birth records
for other children of their marriage.
They discover just one brother, a Charles Smith.
It is now imperative the team traces this man.
If he went on to have multiple Smith children,
they could be in for a long and laborious search.
How many births of child A Smith were there in Sheffield?
-Just the one.
-Just the one.
So you've got one birth in Sheffield,
in Ecclesfield which is Sheffield.
And we've got a death on age in Sheffield.
I think that might well be him.
The team have found what could potentially be the birth
and possible death of Gordon's uncle, but they have to be sure.
If they can prove he died without children,
it will mean there are no living heirs to Gordon's £400,000 estate
from the Smith side of the family.
-It'd be nice if it were a complete dead end.
Died of the flu?
Against all the odds, the heir hunters have discovered
that Gordon's uncle, Charles Smith,
the last stem on the Smith family tree, died young of the Spanish flu
that swept the world in 1918,
towards the end of the First World War.
The name Spanish flu is a misnomer.
It appears that the first outbreaks of flu
began in military populations.
These were not reported
The first government to report flu was the Spanish government,
which was neutral during the First World War.
So the press latched on to these reports
and wrongly named this the Spanish flu.
Wrongly named or not, the effects of the Spanish flu were very real.
In severe cases, they could wake up in the morning feeling well
and, within 48 hours, be dead.
But it was the second wave of this virus
that did the real damage on a global scale.
This pandemic spreads across the world.
So, about half the world's population, it is speculated,
were infected with the flu.
The pandemic went on to kill up to 100 million people worldwide.
And in Sheffield, where the Smith family lived,
they suffered the same as everywhere else.
Between October and November 1918,
during the peak of the second wave, about 2,000 people died.
And Charles Smith was one of these people,
being just 15 when he succumbed to the illness.
Amazingly, over 90 years later,
Charles's death is helping the heir hunters get one step closer
to finding the beneficiaries to Gordon's £400,000 estate.
So, instead of spending all day flogging Smith,
we can concentrate on something else.
And that something else is the maternal line of the family.
Isha is on the case.
At the moment, I'm doing the maternal side, the mother's side
of the family, which is Dickens which is a much better name than Smith.
At this stage, Isha thinks Gordon's mother was one of three children.
One of whom, she believes, died young.
Across the office, researcher Alan has also been called onto the case.
He's come up with a lead from the Dickens family.
-This guy here.
-Dies in 1986, marries a Veronica.
We've got a possible sure for that age. There is a bit of a gap.
However, his widow is still alive at that address and phone.
Alan's research is on the money.
The team has found their first heir
and it's just past ten o'clock in the morning.
Grimble is keen for Ewart to head straight to her house.
-'How long will it be before you get to Sheffield?'
-Um, about two hours.
While Ewart drives,
the team has found another uncle using the 1911 Census.
This could lead them to another cousin in Sheffield.
They set about organising a visit and trying to verify their research.
I just wondered if it would be possible
for one of my colleagues to pop along and see you later on today?
It's a great result and a meeting is arranged.
Time to let Ewart know the good and bad news.
-'I've made an appointment for you to see a lovely lady.'
'Don't blame me,'
I was told by Grimble that it's a one o'clock appointment.
This time doesn't give Ewart much margin for error
and, back in the office, the potential brothers and sisters
of Gordon's mum are coming thick and fast.
She had one, two, three, four, five, six siblings.
The team has managed to find addresses
for all of the potential cousins of Gordon Smith.
It's now just a case of calling them to hopefully set up meetings.
And Ewart has arrived in time for his first appointment
with a cousin of Gordon's.
It's a relief for everyone to finally make contact with an heir
and, to the team's delight,
Ewart has worked his magic at the first meeting.
-'How you doing?'
-Right, I've got a signature from...
-'Ooh, well done.'
-We haven't seen any competition as yet.
-Yeah, all right.
-'OK, I'll speak to you later then.'
The team have signed up their first heir
and case manager Grimble is pleased the name of Smith
seems to have scared away rival companies.
We haven't seen any competition yet.
That means nothing, it could come in later or tomorrow.
So we just have to see how it pans out now.
No matter what happens, partner Neil can't believe
how well the team's done and it isn't even lunch time.
It's probably a record on a Smith case to be this far ahead,
this early in the day, really.
But they still need to get all of the heirs to sign with Frasers.
Ewart's next meeting is also in Sheffield.
He's come to meet another cousin of Gordon's called Pat Dickens.
What I'm here to do is just really
run through a questionnaire with you, just to confirm who you are
and if, indeed, you are part of the family.
Ewart quickly realises just how estranged Gordon was
from his mother Gladys's side of the family.
-Never had any contact with him?
-Never seen him before?
Never met him?
Ewart goes through the standard questions and paperwork with Pat.
At the end of their meeting, she is happy to sign on the dotted line.
There's an agreement for you to sign, OK?
-Take care, take care. Bye-bye.
With the paperwork complete, Ewart heads off to his next appointment.
The death of a cousin she never met has left Pat speculating
as to why she never knew that side of her family.
Obviously, the age difference between my auntie Gladys
and my dad was a generation, an absolute generation.
It's, er... And that's possibly why.
And it's another heir ticked off for the office.
By just 11 o'clock on Thursday morning,
the team have accounted for Gordon's eight cousins,
who will all be heirs to his £400,000 estate.
Fraser & Fraser's travelling heir hunters have now visited them all.
Partner Neil is over the moon with the team's work.
To be able to solve a Smith case by lunch time on the first day
of research is exceptional.
Um, David Milchard
and his team have done incredibly well to be able to tidy up
all of the loose ends and to work out the full extent of the family.
But it was a family Gordon had never really known.
His heirs are completely unaware of the upheaval that has happened
with his will.
But they'll all now inherit a percentage of his estate.
An estate the Treasury now says is actually worth £150,000,
not the 400,000 first suspected by the team.
It's still a bitter pill for the Hobbs family to swallow
and it highlights the vital importance
of having a will made out correctly and by a professional.
If I could go back in time, the one thing I would have done
is taken my uncle to a solicitor, someone who's qualified to do a will
and not trusted somebody who said he knew how to do wills.
At the present time in the UK,
the law doesn't require any qualifications or standards
within the will-making industry
and if something goes wrong,
it's the law that decides where the money goes.
They've got to regulate the will situation
because this is going to happen to a lot more people than just us.
If you would like advice about making a will
or building your family tree go to:
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