Carol Vorderman calls for change after discovering King Charles' estate gets the money if you die without a will in the Duchy of Lancaster

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TV star Carol Vorderman has called for a change to historic laws dictating what happens when people in Lancashire die without a will.

On her X (Twitter) account this week, the former Countdown star wrote: “I had no idea that in the Duchy of Lancashire(sic), if someone dies without leaving a will or known next of kin, King Charles gets the money.

"£60 million in the last 10 years.

“How about stopping this right now?”

She was responding to a post from a man in Cheshire who claimed that when his step-grandfather died without a will, £400,000 went to the Duchy of Lancaster.

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But it’s not entirely true that ‘King Charles gets the money’.

What is the Duchy of Lancaster?

The Duchy of Lancaster is an ancient body responsible for managing a portfolio of land, property and financial investments.

FILE PHOTO Carol Vorderman.FILE PHOTO Carol Vorderman.
FILE PHOTO Carol Vorderman.

It also undertakes administrative duties associated with the historical County Palatine of Lancaster – today, primarily Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside.

The Duchy’s main purpose is to provide income for the Sovereign as Duke of Lancaster, although he is not entitled to any of the capital assets.

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So, does the Duchy receive money from the estates of people who die?

The Duchy Solicitor administers the assets of individuals who die intestate (without a will) in Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Furness (The County Palatine) where no legal beneficiary can be traced, “strictly in accordance with the law”.

King Charles is also the Duke of Lancaster.King Charles is also the Duke of Lancaster.
King Charles is also the Duke of Lancaster.

The administration of any assets of dissolved companies is carried out in a similar way.

Where does the money go?

The Duchy states: “The net income from these estates is transferred to registered charities established by the Duchy, after allowing for the cost of undertaking the duties and responsibilities associated with the historical obligations of the Duchy.”

Which areas are in the Duchy?

Most areas of Lancashire are included in the Duchy of Lancaster, as well as huge areas of Liverpool, Manchester, Cheshire and Cumbria.

To see the individual place names, click here

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How do I find out if the Duchy is dealing with the estate of a relative of mine?

You need to write to the Duchy Solicitor with a simple family tree showing your relationship to the deceased.

Letters should be sent to:

Solicitor for the Affairs of the Duchy of Lancaster,

Farrer & Co,

66 Lincoln’s Inn Fields,