Escheat and Bona Vacantia

Escheat

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.

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

Unclaimed personal estates

The table below includes all unclaimed personal estates notified to HM Receiver General since 1 January 2015. It was last updated on 23 March 2016.

RG Ref Date Surname Forename(s) Date of Death Place of Death Date of Birth Place of Birth
ZJPL94 23/03/2016 Beck Edwina 14/11/2011 Jersey 02/11/1921 Essex, England
ZJPD07 23/03/2016 Canavan Paul 14/03/2014 Jersey 14/04/1964 Jersey
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
ZJPL07 23/03/2016 Davison Barbara 30/09/2007 Jersey 26/07/1939 Jersey
ZJQM38 23/03/2016 De La Cour Sylvia 29/03/2013 Jersey 05/01/1932 Jersey
15-38 04/08/2015 England Clarice Edith Lydia 25/07/1998 Jersey 05/01/1918 Jersey
ZJPS58 23/03/2016 Howard Kenneth 25/07/2011 Jersey 08/02/1949 Lancashire, England
ZJQL10 23/03/2016 Jean Doreen 01/02/2013 Jersey 31/08/1932 Jersey
ZJQO44 23/03/2016 Lennon Jimmy 02/06/2015 Jersey 29/06/1938 Cork, Ireland
ZJPS14 23/03/2016 McKenzie Pamela Lesley 27/02/2009 Jersey 28/02/1927 Portsmouth, England
ZJQO33 23/03/2016 O’Connor Charles 26/05/2012 Jersey 03/09/1927 Jersey
ZJPL83 23/03/2016 Saidubreil Jean 24/02/2011 Jersey 30/11/1945 Fougeres, France
ZJQM19 23/03/2016 Sewell Derek 21/09/2012 Jersey 30/10/1929 Jersey
ZJPL70 23/03/2016 Sweet Phyllis 22/05/2010 Jersey 13/05/1920 Jersey
ZJPS39 23/03/2016 Turner James 22/10/2011 Jersey 28/07/1938 Uxbridge, England
ZJPL86 23/03/2016 Walters Myra 01/02/2011 Jersey 21/12/1919 West Midlands, England

To make a claim contact:

Her Majesty’s Receiver General for Jersey
Office of the Lieutenant-Governor
St Saviour’s Hill
Jersey
Channel Islands
JE2 7GH
Phone: +44 (0) 1534 441702
Fax: +44 (0) 1534 441799

Email HM Receiver General

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