George Marshall Millen chose to spend the last years of his life in a shed on the Scotland Bridge Lock, Surrey, despite having £27,000 worth of assets.

Mr Millen died without leaving a Will, giving no indication of who he wanted to inherit his valuable estate.

It was only when probate research firm Fraser and Fraser, who star on BBC One’s daytime show Heir Hunters, tracked down his sister, that the family discovered his unusual way of life.

Anne King had not seen her brother for over 25 years after he chose to tie off all forms of contact.

When the London based firm contacted Mrs King, she said she felt a “feeling of relief that at last I would know what had happened to him”.

Mrs King last saw her brother at their mother’s 80th birthday over a quarter of a century ago. Although her other brother, Boyd, had tried to find him, no one managed to get back in touch.

Mr Millen used to live in a house boat along the canal, but when the council deemed it unfit for habitation, he chose to build his own home.

As an ex-meteorologist who spent many years at the Met Office and learnt his craft in te military, Mr Millen enjoyed the outdoors.

Neil Fraser, Partner at Fraser and Fraser said: “We sometimes get unusual cases such as Mr Millen’s which can make it harder to track. Once we located his birth certificate, however, the family tree started to unravel.

“Mr Millen actually had £10,000 worth of premium bonds with the rest sitting in his bank account – something which the four heirs, including his sister, can now enjoy.

“In cases where the deceased is elderly, we often find the beneficiaries are further down the family tree, but here we managed to find near kin, as well as Mr Millen’s nieces.”

Fraser and Fraser managed to locate a total of four heirs, the majority in the Cheshire and Liverpool area.