CRUK calls for unclaimed assets register to protect legacy donations

Cancer Research UK is asking the Government to develop a publicly accessible national register of unclaimed assets to make sure the millions of pounds lying in dormant bank accounts are released to the rightful beneficiaries.

The UK’s biggest charity claims that much of the money Chancellor Gordon Brown promised this month to release for good causes is in fact part of legacies that have been left to named charities in wills. If a person left a percentage of their estate to such charities in their will, and had assets that were never uncovered when they died, the charities will miss out on that percentage.

CRUK is calling on the charity sector to unite to support its campaign for a national register, which has already been introduced in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. Many charities, including the British Heart Foundation, Barnardo’s and the RNLI, have already signed up.

Richard Davidson, director of public affairs at CRUK, said: “We believe charities could be missing out on up to £1bn of legacy funds currently lying in dormant bank accounts, shareholdings and property.

“The Government has continued to publicly commit only to discussions with the banks about the mechanism for releasing these assets,” he added. “Since this mechanism is important to the potential recipients too, we would like to see a commitment from the Treasury to fully involve all stakeholders, including charities that rely on legacies, in their discussions.”

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