Tracing And Identifying Missing Heirs

Industry: Genealogy

Tracing and identifying missing heirs can often be incredibly tricky and throw up a number of issues especially for solicitors. Investigations by professional probate genealogists could uncover previously unheard of blood relatives, meaning that a referral to the Treasury Solicitor’s Bona Vacantia division by a solicitor could be incredibly costly and may prove to be a waste of time.

International (PRUnderground) April 26th, 2011

Tracing and identifying missing heirs can often be incredibly tricky and throw up a number of issues especially for solicitors. Investigations by professional probate genealogists could uncover previously unheard of blood relatives, meaning that a referral to the Treasury Solicitor’s Bona Vacantia division by a solicitor could be incredibly costly and may prove to be a waste of time. This, as Daniel Curran of Finders Probate Geologists explains, is because the Treasury Solicitor often adopts a protective stance toward estate assets on behalf of the Crown and may not be overly sympathetic toward solicitors who have spent considerable time and money in trying to find out whether a living next of kin exists.

Finders Probate Genealogists can offer a simple solution to this problem which is both QC approved and satisfies the Treasury Solicitor’s call for estates to be referred to them after ‘reasonable enquiries have been made’. This requirement ensures that the Treasury Solicitor Bona Vacantia Estates division is in fact entitled to an estate before it is referred to them without reimbursing solicitors who have spent both time and money tracing living next of kin.

Finders will either undertake all investigations in order to trace the entitled next of kin to an apparently Bona Vacantia Estate or prove there are no living and entitled relatives under intestacy law, free of charge or risk. Finders will then report the findings so that appropriate action can be taken i.e. either a Grant can be taken out to begin the process of estate administration, or the estate can be referred to the Treasury Solicitor in the knowledge that there are no living next of kin who can inherit.

Where Finders find entitled relatives, the Finders fee is agreed directly with these persons, which is expressed as a percentage of their net entitlement when the estate is distributed. This safeguards against payments having to be recalled where, halfway through the estate administration, a will is found, and further prevents a situation where a solicitor is de-instructed from handling the estate administration and has to recover fees paid out to third parties. Working with Finders also offers solicitors further protection from situations where they may be forced to write off thousands of pounds in time and expenses because the Treasury Solicitor’s Bona Vacantia estates division is not in a position to refund costs. Finders can prevent this type of situation from arising by finding blood relatives entitled prior to an estate being passed to the Crown in order to establish whether the Crown would have an interest in the Bona Vacantia estate in question.

If a firm of solicitors has referred a Bona Vacantia estate to Finders, Finders will put forward the firm’s name for consideration by the prospective estate administrator. Should they instruct this firm, costs and expenses can be recovered and further fees can be generated through estate administration. This opportunity could have been lost had the solicitor immediately referred the estate to the Bona Vacantia estates division without considering Finders’ option.

Whilst making enquiries to find entitled relatives, Finders often hear that relatives are unable to track next of kin, surviving relatives or indeed any family members. However, the high Finders success rate results in a number of next of kin being identified and located; people who are entitled to inherit in priority to the Treasury Solicitor’s Bona Vacantia estates division acting on behalf of the Crown.
Quite simply, nothing is lost and no risk is incurred, whereas there are fees to recovered when a solicitor asks Finders to investigate estates where seemingly, there are no known next of kin.

Daniel Curran is MD of Finders International Probate Genealogists and can be contacted via www.findersuk.com & www.heirhuntersuk.co.uk

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Daniel Curran
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