Thousands of pounds are waiting as dozens of estates remain unclaimed — is your surname on this list?

When a person dies with no will or known family, their home and estate are taken care of by the Treasury.

The government produces a list of legacies which have not yet been claimed by any relatives.

Many of the people on the list are thought to have died alone, being listed as spinsters, widows, bachelors or single people.

If you are related to somebody on the list, you could be entitled to a share of the estate.

When making a claim, you will need to provide a family tree showing your relationship and two pieces of identification.

Those making a claim may also be asked to send birth, death or marriage certificates.

If you are not a relative you can still apply for a grant from the estate - if you lived together but were not married, for example.

If no relative can be found within 12 years, the dormant estate becomes the property of the Crown, but it is still possible to make a claim if you are legitimately entitled.