Mum inherited £180k fortune from man she didn’t know existed

George Anderson, 81, died in July 2019 without leaving a will or any known next of kin. However, thanks to the efforts of Danny Curran from Finders International, the UK’s leading probate genealogy firm and star of BBC TV’s Heir Hunters series, relatives entitled to inherit George’s estate were successfully located.

George, born in Everton, Liverpool North in 1938, was an only child who never married nor had any children of his own. As researchers delved into George’s family history, they embarked on a global journey which took them to Australia, Malta, Canada, and even Kyrgyzstan. Eventually, all 26 beneficiaries were traced, bringing them together to claim their rightful shares of the estate.

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Dr Anna Phillips, one of the beneficiaries and a 65-year-old art teacher at an international school in Kyrgyzstan, initially thought the letter from Finders International was a scam.

She explained: “I received a letter from Finders International about George Anderson. I immediately thought it was a scam.

“I had never heard of him in my life. Then a bit later, while walking home from a day’s teaching, I got a phone call.

“It was just surreal to hear that I was related to this man that I never knew and had been tracked down as a beneficiary to his estate. It was totally unbelievable.”

Further investigation revealed George was the only child of Elizabeth Philips and George Anderson, who married in 1937. His parents passed away in 1969 and 1998, respectively.

Anna discovered her grandfather, Thomas Phillips, was Elizabeth’s brother, making George’s mother and Anna’s grandfather siblings. George’s mother, Elizabeth Philips, was one of 10 children, four of whom died as infants.

Anna said: “It is such a shame that I never knew him or that we never met. I now understand how I’m related to him but would never have figured it out myself. The whole process has helped put us back in touch with an extended family, and the opportunity to have a fully mapped out family tree is really something special.”

“While the inheritance is not life changing, it was of course a nice surprise. We paid some into our mortgage in Tasmania, and then gave some to our children.

“It’s all about helping the next generation and has helped them in that regard. This inheritance is also assisting us in the next phase of my husband Robert’s and my life, we intend to continue being creative, making art and music, when we retire and continue our travels.”

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Danny Curran from Finders International said families often lose touch for various reasons, and situations like George’s are more common than expected.

He said: “Families lose touch for a multitude of reasons. It happens frequently and situations like this are more common than one might expect.

“It also appears that George had some quite serious mental and physical health issues during his life, and this might have been a contributing reason for why he lost touch with family – but of course we will never really know. Without a will we have no idea what George would have wanted to do with his money.

“However, had we not found all these beneficiaries George’s money would have gone to the treasury. It is great to see that instead it has been shared out amongst his relatives and has made a positive difference to all these people and their families.”

Finders International found 26 beneficiaries in total, with each taking a share in George’s estate.

This article was crafted with the help of AI tools, which speed up’s editorial research. A news editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected].

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