These cases refer to The School Sites Act of 1841, which allowed landowners to donate a parcel of land, of less than one acre, for the purpose of the education of children, generally of the poorer of working classes.

If the land was donated under the School Sites Act (1841) freely and willingly, and the specific purpose described in the deed transferring ownership ceases to apply, the land reverts back to the original donor of his/her descendants. In general, this means the closure of the school that had been established as a result of the Grant.

Fraser and Fraser become aware of these cases when a relevant authority are attempting to extinguish the rights of the original donor or their descendants.

The time it takes to distribute a school sites estate is often a lot longer than a ‘normal’, more common case, ranging between one to five years. This is because the research process is slightly different, as is the sale of the site.

1

The initial notice

Contains details of the deed granting the land, advising us that the relevant authority is taking steps to distinguish the rights of the beneficiaries. At least one heir must be found within a three month period from the date of publication.

2

Obtaining the proof

Research begins to establish details of the original donor.

3

Tracing rightful heirs

Once confirmed, we identify the potential beneficiaries. These are usually the residual beneficiaries of the donor and his/her successors.

4

Reporting the details

We report back to the trustees or relevant authority with documentary evidence.

5

Rounding things off

This is where we complete the research to confirm the identity of all beneficiaries and detail their entitlement.

6

Acquiring the funds

In School Sites cases, the entire estate value arises from the share, relevant to the donor, of the sale of the site. The time this takes can vary.

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