Ultimus Haeres


"Ultimus Haeres" is Latin for "ultimate heir". It refers to the Crown’s right to a person’s estate where a person dies without leaving a will (this is referred to as being "intestate") and has no spouse or civil partner or any other blood relative, or has no relatives who can be easily traced.

In those cases, the person’s estate (e.g. cash, shares, pension etc. and land or buildings), is claimed for the Crown by the QLTR as "ultimus haeres" (i.e as the ultimate heir). The assets are gathered in by the QLTR Office, and the surplus after the deceased person's debts and the funeral account have been paid, fall to the Crown.

Heirs can appear later and, provided they prove the appropriate relationship, the net assets of the estate can be paid to them.

Reporting a death

Where there has been a death and there are apparently no spouse, civil partner or blood relatives, the death should be reported immediately to the National Ultimus Haeres Unit. The contact details for the National Ultimus Haeres Unit are as follows:

National Ultimus Haeres Unit
Procurator Fiscal Office
Cameronian House
3/5 Almada Street

Telephone number - 0300 020 4196

Email - _NationalUltimusHaeresUnit@copfs.gov.uk

The National Ultimus Haeres Unit (NUHU), makes preliminary enquiries to check whether there is a Will or known spouse, civil partner or blood relatives. On receipt of a potential UH estate for investigation, NUHU add the details of the estate to their list of estates under investigation (Deaths Being Investigated as potential UH Estates) to allow an entitled person to claim it .

Administration by the QLTR office

Once NUHU have completed their investigations and determine an estate should be referred to the QLTR office, the details of that estate are added to the QLTR website (Estates reported to QLTR but not yet determined if a UH estate or formally accepted as one). We will not commence administration for 12 weeks to give a further opportunity for any entitled person to claim the estate before our administration commences. 

Once administration of an estate has commenced, we then record it on a separate list (Estates in the course of Administration by QLTR) and we will then administer the estate to conclusion (and charge the appropriate fee), even if a relative appears in the course of that work.

It is only on completion of the administration of an estate that the QLTR is able to add the net value of the estate and record the estate on a separate list (Estates on which administration has been completed and which remain available for claim). The estates of these people are advertised on the website as "having fallen to the Crown", and it will then be open to any blood relatives to approach the office regarding the estate - further guidance on how to claim is available here: http://www.qltr.gov.uk/content/estates-which-administration-has-been-completed-and-which-remain-available-claim.  

NOTE- more general guidance re 'What to do after a death in Scotland' can be obtained from the Scottish Government Website