Recent years have seen significant changes to the Government Legal Department’s (GLD’s) referral policy.
As stated on the official gov.uk website, the Bona Vacantia Division of the GLD does not deal with estates if “there are known or likely to be entitled relatives who survived the deceased, even if these have subsequently died, cannot be traced or do not wish to deal with the estate.” Considering that a number of Local Authorities Hoopers regularly engages with have received information that 95% of cases referred to genealogists result in the successful tracing of a family member, this precludes a vast majority of cases from being referred to the Government Legal Department.
A further change of policy has resulted in the GLD no longer liaising with an heir or their solicitor after admitting a valid claim - instead they direct the claimant back to the original source of the referral (in many cases, a Local Authority). The Bona Vacantia public notice concerning the estate will also include details of the source of referral, which may result in firms of genealogists or members of the public who believe they may be entitled making direct contact with a Council.
A combination of these factors has added considerably to the potential administrative burden faced by Local Authorities; for this reason, many have decided to refer such cases directly to Hoopers.