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The nature of inheritance from unclaimed estates is undoubtedly an interesting subject. Channel 4 was captivated by this premise, leading to the creation of Key To A Fortune, which will prominently feature Blanchards over the upcoming months. The show spotlighs our adeptness in tracking down high-value estates and properties. Episode 2 of Key To A Fortune focused on the story of Mary Stephenson and the masses of land she left after passing intestate. Blanchards were teh researchers on this case and we feature throughout the episode. Catch up on Channel 4 on demand.

Intestate dies leaving 50 acres of farmland

Last week on Key To A Fortune was the case of Mary Stephenson. One of the most interesting cases on the show. Mary passed away intestate in 2021, being the owner of a dilapidated Welsh farmhouse and 54-acre small holding with three barns. The interesting nature of this property and story was selected for last weeks episode.

Mary Stephenson worked as an accountant for her Father for many years and continued in this line of work until after her parents passing. Mary lived in her parents Home in somerset. In 2013 her home was a target of a suspicious house fire set by 2 teenage boys. This was a wake up call for Mary to go and live her dreams. So the following year she sold the house and bought the farm house in Wales where her new occupation was a smallholder. Here she lived her dream of looking after her sheep which she was passionate about. Every day in her notepad she wrote about her sheep, of which she was besotted. Mary was well respected among other farmers and small holders in the area for being more than able to hold her own in a male dominated profession. Sadly after many years her health deteriorated and Mary passed intestate in 2021.

After some lengthy genealogy, Blanchards discovered some distant cousins (once removed) who knew of Mary but had never met her. There were no other close family for Mary. She had two siblings who sadly passed at young ages and both Marys parents had passed. The cousins were surprised to say the least about their new found inheritance.

The Property

The property was in disrepair when our clearance agents arrived. The roof had collapsed onto one of the beds in the property and the home was ram shackled throughout. Its unknown if this occurred before or after Ms Stephenson passed away. Living alone until she passed with no close family, Ms Stephenson was unable to handle the property she resided in which is the cause of properties current state. This is common among elderly people across the UK. Blanchards encounter this every day, highlighting there is a loneliness problem for the elderly in this country.

Despite being in poor condition, the property was grand, amassing 54 acres of now unused farmland in Wales. What was once bustling farm land, holding a flock of sheep became a home of one. Clearly the potential for such a property was massive.

With such potential,  conversation of renovation was present. Should the beneficiaries sell for a quicker pay out or renovate for a potentially larger property sale. This is the nature of last weeks episode of Key To A Fortune. Ultimately, the beneficiaries wanted to sell with the property going to auction in October for 180k. Although the property was decrepit and worn down, ourselves and the beneficiaries were unhappy with that valuation and auction price due to the properties massive potential. We decided to get it revalued and sent to auction again in November. Here it sold for a far greater value than what was initially valued.


All parties were more than satisfied with the outcome of the case. The surprises continued for the beneficiaries when they were asked to appear on the show. Each episode will feature a new case provided by ourselves and showcases our research into probate genalogy and people finding. Tune in to Key To A Fortune every Sunday at 5:15pm.

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