top of page

Frequently Asked Questions

We get these questions a lot. Here are our best answers ...

  • What is Forensic Genealogy?
    Forensic genealogy is genealogical/family history research that pertains to the law. The processes of locating missing and unknown heirs, for inheritance or notification, falls into this category. This type of research can also be called many other names - estate research, probate research, heir search, heirship research.
  • Is Discovering Connections LLC just another an heir hunting company?
    The term “heir hunter” refers to those who are actively seeking estates that have been unclaimed in order to make a profit, usually by charging a fee that is a percentage of the estate, from the heirs they locate. Their main goal is profit and not necessarily locating all of the rightful heirs. We do NOT conduct independent searches and never charge a percentage fee. We are an unbiased third party with no stake in the outcome of the case, so our results can be trusted to be accurate and impartial. Our main focus is helping our clients locate the rightful, legal heirs for their cases.
  • Why should I hire a Forensic Genealogist?
    Forensic Genealogists have an extensive knowledge and understanding of familial relationships and the documents necessary to prove relationships between individuals. They also provide an unbiased view of the family, to ensure no individuals are forgotten or left out. Their experience can prove vital to the successful outcome of any legal proceeding involving the identification of living relatives.
  • How long will the research take?
    While every research project is unique and will have its own specific timeline, most research projects can be completed in 3-6 weeks. Factors that can affect the completion time of a project include the number of individuals being researched, the number of geographic locations involved in the research, and repository wait times for document requests.
  • Are there ways to expedite the research?
    We do our best to work with each client on their specific deadlines and upcoming court dates. We can offer expedited services, however, this is project dependent, because not all projects can be completed in a short timeframe. Also, if records need to be requested for your research project, some repositories and government agencies take weeks to process requests, which could delay the completion of the project.
  • What if no heirs can be located that meet the state succession requirements?
    If through the course of the research, no individuals are found who meet the relationship criteria as required by the state, the report will detail that a diligent search was conducted which resulted in no evidence of living next-of-kin. A research log containing a list of all searches and research findings will also be provided.
  • Do you provide current contact information for all identified potential heirs?
    We have access to multiple public records and government databases that we cross-reference, in order to get you the best available contact information for any living individuals located during our research. Although we use some of the best tools in the industry, it is impossible to guarantee the accuracy of all of the information. However, we work very hard to ensure you have the most recent and best information available.
  • Will the report name the legal heirs?
    Although the report will list all potential heirs and show the closest living relatives of an individual, it will not state who the legal heirs are for an individual. The legal determination of heirship varies by state and is ultimately for the court to decide.
  • Is forensic genealogy the same in every state?
    No. Although the research methods are often similar for different locations, every state has its own inheritance and succession laws that can change the focus of our research. Some states have requirements on how distant a living relative can be in order to inherit, while others require the closest living relative to be traced, regardless of how distant the relationship is. We work with our clients to understand their states' specific legal requirements and use this to guide our research.
  • Are there ways to reduce the cost of the research?
    Absolutely. If you already have a lot of documents and family research, that will certainly cut down on the number of hours required for the research. However, in the case of unsourced family information, we will have to spend some time verifying the accuracy of the information provided. Please let us know about any cost limitations prior to beginning the research and we can work with you to get the most out of your research budget. To see full details on our pricing visit our Pricing Page.
  • Do you provide legal advice?
    No. Although as forensic genealogists we work closely with legal professionals, we are not licensed attorneys and therefore cannot provide any legal advice.
  • Can I request that certain information to be left out of my report?
    As professional genealogists, we must provide a completely unbiased research report. We cannot remove details or facts relevant to the research report. We adhere to the Code of Ethics and Professional Practices as established by the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG).
  • How can I get started with my forensic genealogy project?
    Contact us for a free consultation to review your research project. We will go over your goals and specific requirements for the project and establish an estimated cost and completion time. We look forward to helping you solve your legal genealogy research needs!

Can't find an answer to your question?

We'd love to answer it for you personally. Just click below to get started.

bottom of page