Certain bodies (including the Treasury Solicitor, Official Receivers, trustees in bankruptcy and liquidators) may disclaim (give up) their interest in a property. If the property disclaimed is freehold land, the property will normally escheat (return) to the Crown (as a result of ancient, complex law).
Freehold property in England and Wales owned by a dissolved overseas company may also escheat to the Crown.
Will the Duchies be involved in my enquiry?
If the escheat freehold property is within the County Palatine (largely Lancashire and parts of Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Cumbria) the property disclaimed will escheat to The King in Right of His Duchy of Lancaster. If the relevant address is within the County of Cornwall (including the Isles of Scilly) the property will escheat to His Royal Highness the Duke of Cornwall.
If you have been informed by the Treasury Solicitor, the Crown Estate, the Official Receiver, a trustee in bankruptcy or a liquidator that the property you are interested in is subject to escheat (or you are, or act for, one of these and are disclaiming property) to find out whether the Duchy of Lancaster or the Duchy of Cornwall may have jurisdiction search for the postcode of the escheat property using the buttons below.
If they do not have jurisdiction, you will need to contact Burges Salmon who act for the Crown Estate in escheat matters for the rest of England and Wales. The Duchies’ procedures for the administration of escheat are very similar to those of the Crown Estate.