Hundreds of thousands of pounds of inheritance is waiting to be claimed following the deaths of Oxford residents.

The Treasury has revealed there are 22 unclaimed estates belonging to people who died in Oxford, and almost 6,000 unclaimed estates across the UK.

The surnames for unclaimed estates in Oxford include Barber, Byfield, Carden, Chapnik, Garlick, Gonsalves, Johnson, Kearney and Lyha.

Money from the Oxford estates is a fraction of the £80 million currently waiting to be claimed.

Unclaimed estates usually occur when the deceased has not left a will or the beneficiaries of the will cannot be traced.

They also occur if the next of kin, according to the rule of intestacy, cannot be found either.

Fiona Mainwaring, head of wills and probate at Stafford-based law firm ORJ, said: "There are clear rules in place to distribute an estate to family members when there is no will in place, following a strict order of priority that starts with married or civil partners and ends with half aunts and uncles.

"If no beneficiaries can be traced, the estate simply sits in limbo until after 30 years it becomes the property of The Crown."

The Treasury only advertises estates with a net value of £500 or above.

Ms Mainwaring added: "With people moving around the world more than ever, it is no surprise that it is sometimes difficult to track down the next of kin.

"The result is these forgotten fortunes sit dormant and are eventually surrendered.

"The sheer volume of unclaimed estates shows how important it is to have a valid, up-to-date will, along with a named executor, which makes it much easier to divide assets when the time comes."

More details of the estates and how to claim them can be found on the ORJ website.

Ms Mainwaring said anyone who believes they might have been left something in a will can search the probate records so they know who to contact when the estate is dealt with.

She added: “If there is a will, it is possible to get a copy for a nominal fee along with the Grant of Probate, which will include the executor’s contact details.

“If there is no will and you believe you qualify through the intestacy rules, a copy of the Grant of Letters of Administration can be obtained which will include the administrator's details.”

To start the process of writing or updating a will, Ms Mainwaring can be contacted by calling 01785 223440 or by emailing