By Aidan Grant

A key point that the public should take away from this finding is that the hidden costs of dying intestate can often far exceed the cost of putting in place a simple Will. Individuals with little or no close family are more likely to have their estates subjected to the treatment described in the article as councils attempt to locate next-of-kin.

Those individuals should ask themselves whether they would prefer that their estates be left to friends or even charity instead, rather than a proportion evaporating in administration costs before their next-of-kin ever sees their inheritance.