Santander apologises for sitting on Holocaust survivor's legacy

Now hunting other dormant accounts

Santander - bank card close up

Santander has apologised after discovering that it was still holding almost £130,000 belonging to a Holocaust survivor who died 12 years ago.

Karl Lenobel, 84, died after collapsing at his home in 2004. A retired merchant seaman, he spent much of his childhood in Nazi concentration camps, where his parents lost their lives.

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After the war, he moved to the US and then to London.

When Mr Lenobel died, he left most of his savings to three children's charities. But according to the Daily Mail, there was a mix-up.

While his solicitor was able to get three accounts closed down and the money distributed as Mr Lenobel had wished, Santander failed to tell him about two more accounts in his name.

As a result, the money - more than £127,000 - just sat there for years. The bank even made a note on the accounts that Mr Lenobel had died, but failed to contact the solicitor.

Santander first discovered the problem around 18 months ago - and says it has found many more dormant accounts with 'deceased indicators' on them.

It's now working to try and trace relatives to distribute the cash. It will, says the Mail, add interest at 8% per year, as well as other reasonable expenses such as tax advice.

"If you want to find an account on behalf of a friend or relative who has died, and left you money in their will, you can do this provided you can prove your identity and demonstrate that you are the rightful heir to the money," advises Moneysupermarket.com.

You can do this by contacting My Lost Account, which is organised by the British Bankers' Association, the Building Societies Association and NS&I.

And it's not only the deceased who may have a dormant bank account - defined as one which hasn't been touched for at least 15 years and whose owner can't be traced. In fact, there's as much as £5 million sitting quietly in dormant accounts across the UK as a whole; My Lost Account can help you here too.

However, beware of scammers, who are emailing savers to tell them that they have a lost account and asking for their bank account number and sort code. My Lost Account would never ask for this information; so if you get one of these emails, don't respond and delete it straight away.

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