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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 Queen in Right of Her 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.

Duchy of Lancaster   Duchy of Cornwall

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.

Start your Escheat enquiry here

If they do have jurisdiction, please email [email protected] with

  • Recent official copies of the title register and a title plan (no older than 3 months) from the Land Registry for the property you are interested in and any adjoining land you own,
  • Why you are interested in the property,
  • Your contact details, and
  • Putting the name of the dissolved company in your email heading.

You can obtain official copies from the Land Registry. If the property is not registered, you will need to make further investigations as to evidence of ownership before submitting your enquiry and provide a copy of the relevant title document to us. 

Useful links

Duchy of Lancaster

Duchy of Cornwall

Burges Salmon - Solicitors for The Crown Estate who have jurisdiction over escheat property for the rest of England and Wales

Contact Us

If you have

  • read and answered the relevant questions on this page,
  • checked the relevant postcode using our boundary checker documents for Escheat to confirm that the escheat property you are interested in falls within the jurisdiction of the Duchy of Lancaster or the Duchy of Cornwall, and
  • not found an answer to your query or require further clarification.

Get in touch

For all escheat enquiries:

If you do not have access to email write to the address below including the requested information, marking your letter Escheat Enquiry and stating the name of the dissolved company in the heading.

Duchy of Lancaster or

Duchy of Cornwall (as appropriate)

Farrer & Co
66 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London
WC2A 3LH

This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

© Farrer & Co LLP

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