Trace Forgotten and Lost Accounts in the UK from Spain
There’s an estimated £500 million in unclaimed money in dormant bank accounts in the UK and lots more sitting around in other unclaimed assets. After 15 years unclaimed, money in dormant accounts is transferred into the Big Society Fund set up by the UK Government. If you want to trace your assets from Spain, how should you go about it?
How Are Assets Lost?
There are many situations where you can lose track of your assets. Moving house to another country, going through situations such as divorce or losing a partner or parent can lead to important papers either being mislaid or completely forgotten about.
Financial assets include the following:
- Bank Accounts
- Building Society savings
- Insurance Policies
- Pensions – company or personal
- Premium Bonds
Financial institutions won’t be looking for you, and with so much in unclaimed assets waiting for their rightful owners to collect them it’s well worth taking a few minutes to try and trace them.
We spoke with David Goodall, financial advisor in Spain, for advice regarding how to trace lost accounts. He told us that the most obvious sources are banks and building societies via the website MyLostAccount.org.uk run by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), the Building Societies Association (BSA) and National Savings and Investments (NS&I).
How Can I Recover My Assets?
If you’ve lost details of your accounts, or think you may have unclaimed assets, as long as you can identify yourself you can reclaim your money.
After you send in your details, you may have to wait up to three months for an answer from banks or building societies or one month from NS&I.
Here are a couple of sources if you want to take the DIY route to tracing your assets:
- www.mylostaccount.org.uk – Free service covering most current and former UK banks and building societies and some foreign institutions.
- www.uar.co.uk – Experian’s Unclaimed Assets Register charges a £25 fee per search but does not take a percentage of any funds recovered.
If you had pensions in the UK but have lost the details, take a look at the Pension Tracing Service. Many companies have been taken over or merged and can be difficult to trace. If you get in touch with David, he can recommend a regulated adviser.
The same is also true about life assurance. It’s amazing how many household names of a few years ago no longer exist. You might even benefit from a deceased relative but you don’t know you’re a beneficiary and the Life Company doesn’t know you exist.
Remember that in most cases you can make a search either in your own name or the name of the account holder (eg a relative). However be careful when using the internet (except for the sites shown above), as there are lots of scams just looking for a way to get your personal details.