Ireland AM | Finders International Segment

Wednesday 28th August 2019 7:50am


[Bright Music]

[Clare McKenna] You’re very welcome back. Now it’s the stuff of a Hollywood movie, you get a call from a stranger who reveals that you’ve got a long-lost relative that has died and left you a fortune. So could such a windfall happen to you? Or indeed us.

Alan Hughes: Yes, well Finders International is a company that traces missing heirs to unclaimed inheritance and joining us now, is our senior researcher Maeve Mullin. Good morning to you Maeve.

[Maeve Mullin] Thank you very much.

[Alan Hughes] I was just saying, I was talking to you upstairs and I was saying it must be a great job, because you’re reuniting people with long lost relatives and then money –

[Maeve Mullin] Exactly.

[Alan Hughes] – and sometimes a lot of money.

Maeve Mullin: Exactly, exactly. It’s a very positive job and everybody that we speak to are very happy that we have contacted them and yes people are delighted to hear that they may be in line for an inheritance, but actually most people are very interested in the person who has passed away,  and they may never have heard of this long lost uncle or aunt, or they may have known that in their family there was somebody who –

[Alan Hughes] Yeah, Uncle Jack went to Birmingham way back in the 40’s and was never heard of again type of thing.

[Maeve Mullin] Exactly, exactly. Exactly, exactly.

[Clare McKenna] And it’s really in isn’t it and genealogy and ‘Who do you think you are?’ and tracing your family tree –

[Maeve Mullin] It is.

[Clare McKenna] – but sometimes you must be unearthing secrets like siblings people didn’t know I mean I know money is at the end of it-

[Maeve Mullin] – Yes.

[Clare McKenna] – but sometimes you’re turning it from the inside out aren’t you with this news.

[Maeve Mullin] Yes, absolutely and we are very aware of that when we are contacting potential beneficiaries that this might be very upsetting news for them or just something that it’s going to take a while to actually come to terms with it and get their head around it so we’re very sensitive about those situations.

[Alan Hughes] And this is people that have died and haven’t left wills, –

[Maeve Mullin] Yes.

[Alan Hughes] – So they can have estates. What’s the biggest windfall that you’ve given somebody where somebody has left to them?

Maeve Mullin: So, I suppose that one of the biggest estates that I worked on, was three million –

[Alan Hughes] Okay, that’s sizable.

[Maeve Mullin] – pounds sterling.

[Alan Hughes] Right.

[Maeve Mullin] That is actually very unusual. The more usual amount of money is maybe 50,000 –

[Alan Hughes] Okay.

[Maeve Mullin] – or 100,000 or 200,000.

[Alan Hughes] So it might be a house or an apartment or something that this person has lived it practically all their life, they haven’t left a will but that’s really all they really have.

[Maeve Mullin] Exactly they may not have much savings or lots of shares or anything like that. But it’s also quite unusual that there would only be one potential beneficiary. So usually and particularly with Irish families, –

[Alan Hughes] Big big families.

[Maeve Mullin] – there’s usually 15, 20 maybe 30 cousins who are all going to share the –

[Alan Hughes] Oh! Would they all be entitled to something?

[Maeve Mullin] Yes.

[Alan Hughes] Oh so not just immediate family then?

[Maeve Mullin] No, no, no, no.

[Alan Hughes] Okay so it’s like you have to share it with all the cousins,

second cousins, –

[Maeve Mullin] Yes.

[Alan Hughes] – third cousins.

*[Maeve Mullin] Yes, yes, yes, exactly.

[Alan Hughes] You knew them from the pub down the corner (laughs)

[Clare McKenna] That’s why a will is very important. How do you go about finding these people I mean where do you even start?

[Maeve Mullin] So, we would use all the usual tools of Irish genealogy. So typical scenario is that somebody passes away in a nursing home in the UK. The information that we will receive on that person is their date of birth. So, we start with their birth record and then look for any siblings they might have had and if they didn’t have any siblings then we go back to their parents and look for their siblings and then bring the tree forward and locate anybody from the extended family that we can or locate everybody.

[Alan Hughes] Of course when you contact these people, it’s like say Murphy that lived in Ballinasloe, you have to be onto the right Murphey’s in Ballinasloe.

[Maeve Mullin] Yes, Absolutely.

[Alan Hughes] So how –

[Maeve Mullin] Exactly, exactly.

[Alan Hughes] – do you validate that?

[Maeve Mullin] Yes, yes, so for sure there could be, if Patrick Murphy is on the Bona Vacantia list then we have to make sure it’s the right Patrick Murphy. And that is step by step with births, marriages, births, marriages, births, marriages, back from the deceased person and then to the person that we feel is the potential beneficiary.

[Clare McKenna] And Ireland was full of secrets for a long time, wasn’t it? I mean the fathers name might be left off or that you didn’t know that your sister was actually your mother.

[Alan Hughes] (chuckles)

[Clare McKenna] So, do you find you’re going through all of that?

[Maeve Mullin] Exactly, exactly, yeah, yeah. That does happen as well.

[Clare McKenna] So you’re wading through all of that?

[Maeve Mullin] There are so many surprises and families might yeah –

[Alan Hughes] So does it get to a stage then where because money becomes involved, sort of family rifts then begin to show and these stories then become out in the open?

[Maeve Mullin] Not really, because as I said it’s not usually not –

[Alan Hughes] Okay, so long ago.

[Maeve Mullin] – a massive amount of money –

[Alan Hughes] Okay, right.

[Maeve Mullin] – and it’s usually shared among all the family –

[Alan Hughes] So they’re getting a few bob each, yeah so they’re getting a few bob each.

[Clare McKenna] And so much time has passed.

[Maeve Mullin] – and when you make your will you can I say I want this amount of money to go to this person and that amount of money to go to that person but the laws of intestacy there are rules and that’s the law and so therefore there can be no sense of unfairness well that’s just the reason, that’s just the way it is, full  stop.

[Alan Hughes] So the thing to do is if you have a big estate like Airfield Estate you would automatically think, “Oh I make a will and make sure it’s passed down”.

[Maeve Mullin] Yes.

[Alan Hughes] But people when they don’t have, they just maybe in a small one-bedroom apartment, they’re not really thinking of “Oh who am I leaving this to?” They don’t have family really but there is somebody in their past that will get this, and they don’t realise that.

[Maeve Mullin] Exactly and that may not be their wishes so I suppose that really the lesson is absolutely make a will and then your wishes will be carried out.

[Clare McKenna] What happens then if you don’t find the people, is there a stock of money somewhere unclaimed?

[Maeve Mullin] If we don’t locate family, or it’s actually quite an unusual situation that a family would actually – what’s termed die out.  So say the Patrick Murphy that we talked about earlier didn’t have any brother and sisters, his parents did have a couple of brothers and sisters, but none of them had any children, then that family actually dies out. And that’s quite an unusual situation but in that instance their money and their estate goes to the UK treasury, if it’s a UK estate.

[Alan Hughes] Now, interestingly you were saying that it doesn’t happen as much here in Ireland because of the way we are here that, somebody always knows somebody even if they didn’t leave a will. They’ll say that “Ah Mary’s cousin lives –

[Clare McKenna] (laughs) We’re all Finders International here.

[Alan Hughes] -down the road there, if you turn left” you know in that respect that we’re much more sociable here, so we would know somebody who knew that person and it’s much easier.

[Maeve Mullin] Exactly so, it does happen in Ireland but it’s much more unusual.  So, in the UK the Bona Vacantia list is published every day Monday to Friday. Where as in Ireland the equivalent of that would be that the chief state solicitor will publish a little notice in the newspaper, and they will say ‘we have the estate for this person, and this was their address’ and anybody who believes that they are related to this person please contact.

[Clare McKenna] Yes, well let’s get checking the list for any Hughes and McKenna’s.

[All laugh]

[Alan Hughes] We have your details on the screen there and it’s actually fascinating. Thank you very much and the fact that we’re in an estate like this today just makes it all feel surreal

[Maeve Mullin] Yeah Beautiful.

[Alan Hughes] Thank you very much for that.

[Maeve Mullin] Thanks, thanks.

[Alan Hughes] Now coming up after 8 we’re going to be putting our sustainability knowledge to the test and learning how to make an ecofriendly shopping trip. And at quarter past eight old friend of ours Nadia Ford will be dropping by for a chat.

[Clare McKenna] And a quarter to nine Airfields Head Chef Luke Matthews is going to be treating us to a fresh and tasty bruschetta. Keep your texts and comments coming back in to us we’ll be back after this short break.

[Bright Music]


This interview has been published in Virgin Media Television.