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State picks up €2.7m from deaths without families

PEOPLE dying without wills and without relatives have unwittingly contributed more than €2.7m to State coffers over the past seven years.

A new record was set last year when 255 people died without leaving a will or having any known relatives and so the State picked up more than €623,000.

The State is entitled to take the money if a person dies without making a will and has no traceable next of kin.

The money is collected in the Intestate Estates Fund Deposit Account and according to figures from Finance Minister Michael Noonan, there was €2.65m in the account at the end of last December.

The minister also pointed out that in 2007 a surplus of €4.4m which had accrued in the account was transferred from the account to the Dormant Accounts Fund.

Since then the total has climbed back to the €2.56m.

Last year's record of 255 people dying without relatives in this country compares to just eight people in 2007 leaving a total of €222,713 to the State.

In 2011 the number was 149 leaving a total of €227,507 and the previous year a total of 153 people left €213,082.

Figures given by the Minister in response to a query from Deputy Kevin Humphries also show that 187 people left €371,286 in 2009 and 493 left €533,193 the previous year.

The estates of those who die intestate are administered by the Chief State Solicitor under the direction of the Attorney General. Adverts may be used to try to find next of kin but if there are none, estate proceeds are paid into the State Fund.

Mr Noonan said non-liquid assets were sold and the proceeds paid into the intestate estates fund.