Saturday 1 October 2016

€690,000 in limbo as search to find heir to deceased woman's fortune proves fruitless

Published 15/05/2015 | 10:58

Kathleen Hilda Ryan, who had roots in Mullingar Co Westmeath, died in Greenwich in the UK in 2013 without making a will.
Kathleen Hilda Ryan, who had roots in Mullingar Co Westmeath, died in Greenwich in the UK in 2013 without making a will.

A SEARCH for Irish relatives of a woman who died leaving a fortune in the UK has to date proved fruitless with the £500,000 now in limbo.

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Kathleen Hilda Ryan, who had roots in Mullingar Co Westmeath, died in Greenwich in the UK in 2013 without making a will.

The 83-year-old, who was born in Greenwich and had no children, died in October 2013, leaving a fortune of stg£500,000 (€692,000).

For a number of months now Finders International, which traces missing heirs to unclaimed inheritances and works on the BBC series Heir Hunters, has searched for descendants of the deceased woman, focusing on descendants of her Irish aunt Lizzie Ryan.

Despite a surge in calls after they went public with the case, to date no relatives have been discovered.

“We had plenty of phone calls from people who knew the family but nothing concrete has come of it. We’re stumped by it,” said Padraic Grennan, Business Development manager of Finders International in Ireland.

However, the calls have produced one possible lead after it emerged that Lizzie may have emigrated to the US.

“We’re going back over our research again and following up some leads. We have nothing concrete yet but we think Lizzie may have emigrated to the New York,” said Daniel Curran MD of Finders International.

Kathleen had inherited the estate from her late sister Joan, her only surviving sibling, their brother John died as a child.

Kathleen’s mother was from London and her father John from Mullingar. After discovering no living relatives on her mother’s side, the search has focused on the Mullingar connection.

Lizzie Ryan, a sister of Kathleen’s father John was born in Mullingar in 1876. While any children she had may be deceased the fortune could still pass to their descendants.

“Given Lizzie’s age we’d potentially be looking for the children of any children she may have had. It’s really the last lead, the rest of the family appear to have died out,” said Amy Littlechild of Finders International.

Mr Curran said there are currently 550 unclaimed estates with Irish links in the UK. If nobody claims them within 30 years the money goes to the Crown.

For more information on this and other unclaimed estates see www.findersinternational.co.uk

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