Escheat and Bona Vacantia

Escheats and forfeitures historically were largely amounts devolving to the Crown (and in some situations before 1981 to certain private seigneurs) upon the deaths of persons leaving no known heirs or beneficiaries, and at the confiscation of the estates of persons executed or banished from the island.

Today, escheats and forfeitures are still devolved to the Crown following the deaths of persons leaving no known heirs or beneficiaries, and also include any assets of companies that may remain at their dissolution.

Bona vacantia refers to the Crown's right to property having no known owner. The policy relating to the assets of struck off companies is set out in this document: pdf icon HMRG Bona Vacantia Policy August 2023 [160kb]. Please use this form to request a discretionary grant: pdf icon HMRG Discretionary Grant Application Form [130kb]

The regime is founded in the customary law and relevant legislation includes the Feudal Dues (Guernsey) Law, 1980, the Companies (Guernsey) Law, 2008, and the Inheritance (Guernsey) Law, 2011.