Since feudal times, Jersey’s land law has been based on a system of tenure. A freeholder is not an absolute owner but a ‘tenant in fee simple’ holding from his Seigneur as lord of the land in question. The Seigneur is often referred to as the lord of a manor.
Whenever a ‘tenancy in fee simple’ comes to an end, the land in question may become reverted back to state ownership (known as escheat). In this scenario, the Seigneur becomes entitled to take possession of it, according to the Seigneurial Rights (Abolition) (Jersey) Law 1966.
Land, and any buildings thereon, in Jersey will escheat to the Crown if:
- a person being a freeholder dies intestate (without leaving a will) and with no legal heir as defined by the Wills and Successions (Jersey) Law 1993
- a company being a freeholder is dissolved without first disposing of its interest
The term escheat is now often applied to moveable property but this is not strictly correct. In these notes moveable property is dealt with as bona vacantia.
The term bona vacantia literally means “vacant goods” and is the legal name for all ownerless property, which is claimed by the Crown. The Crown’s claim to bona vacantia arises in Jersey by virtue of the Royal Prerogative — that is, at common law.
Moveable property, including interests in land and buildings as something other than freeholder, will become Bona Vacantia if:
- the owner dies intestate (without leaving a will) and with no legal heir as defined by the Wills and Successions (Jersey) Law 1993
- the owner, being a company or other legal entity, is dissolved without first disposing of its interest
HM Receiver General will charge a fee for the recovery, holding and distribution of Bona Vacantia assets. The fee is calculated in accordance with the guidelines laid down by HM Treasury Solicitor (BVD) and is as follows:-
5% of the value of the assets transferred to HM Receiver General, or the interest earned whilst the assets are under the administration of HM Receiver General or £500 whichever is the greater.
Holding of Foreign Currencies
HM Receiver General holds accounts in most major currencies. However, due to banking constraints, amounts received in minor currencies or below the equivalent of £20,000 at the time of receipt will be converted into pounds sterling.
Unclaimed personal estates
The table below includes all unclaimed personal estates notified to HM Receiver General since 1st January 2010 updated 30th November 2019.
|RG Ref||Date||Surname||Forename(s)||Date of Death||Place of Death||Date of Birth||Place of Birth|
|15-37||20/07/2015||Dale||Charles Peter Robert||25/03/2015||Jersey||02/04/1940||Eccles, England|
|15-71||25/11/2015||Davies||Margaret Mary||15/06/2014||England||04/08/1925||Glossop, England|
|15-38||04/08/2015||England||Clarice Edith Lydia||25/07/1998||Jersey||05/01/1918||Jersey|
|ZJPS14||23/03/2016||McKenzie||Pamela Lesley||27/02/2009||Jersey||28/02/1927||Portsmouth, England|
|19-42||18/03/2019||Scully||Aldwyn Percival||25/02/2018||Jersey||24/03/1940||Newport, Wales|
|ZJPL86||23/03/2016||Walters||Myra||01/02/2011||Jersey||21/12/1919||West Midlands, England|
|18-40||19/06/2018||Williams||Anthony John||21/06/2017||Jersey||01/09/1944||York, England|
To make a claim contact:
Her Majesty’s Receiver General for Jersey
Office of the Lieutenant-Governor
St Saviour’s Hill
Phone: +44 (0) 1534 441702