Mr Billingham said NS&I admitted there was no process for contacting grieving families waiting for their money, and it was up to them to chase up the investment scheme – despite a poor record of customer service and lengthy waiting times.
He said: “With the grief and disruption at the time, neither the widow nor the executors noticed that the money was never transferred to her after the initial 12-month period,” he said.
“There seems to be no process at the end of that time period for NS&I to contact the spouse or family and tell them the money is there – despite the family alerting them of the death, and that probate had been granted.
“At no point did NS&I contact the widow and ask if she needed the money. And in fact, they have informed us they have no process to do so. We were informed this was to save the taxpayer the costs of postage. We only realised because a tiny alert showed up on the deceased client’s account on an adviser portal telling him to contact them – but he is dead.”
He added many grieving families could be missing out on thousands – if not millions – of pounds if the Government investment scheme is not following up with the families of deceased investors.
He said: “They told us that they will not communicate with families of deceased people by email or phone. They say it’s not secure, and will only communicate by post – which makes it hard due to the amount of paperwork needed, and the costs of posting – especially for older people.
“It all depends on how people were investing in NS&I premium bonds or savings. If they use the internet or their smartphones, then there may be no paperwork, and so there is little chance that families are going to be aware they could have substantial funds available to them if NS&I aren’t alerting them.
“For older people, it could be almost impossible. Paperwork can get lost and NS&I won’t release statements to families. Without a paper trail, many people could be missing out on substantial amounts because they aren’t being told it’s there, or not being contacted after the initial 12-month period has passed. There should be annual statements from NS&I to the representative of the family member that died.”
NS&I told The Telegraph that as of March 31 2022, the total amount in unclaimed assets in the scheme was £3.65bn. But, it could not say what amount was still unclaimed for savers who have died.