As a probate attorney with missing or unknown heirs in an estate settlement or probate case, you know you need help locating these individuals, but it is not always easy to know how to get that help or where to turn.
The short answer is...you need a forensic genealogist who specializes in missing and unknown heir estate cases. What exactly is a forensic genealogist you ask? It may sound like they deal with DNA from crime scenes and use their analytical skills to catch killers from cold cases?
While that is one part of Forensic Genealogy - a specialty within Forensic Genealogy known as Investigative Genetic Genealogy - it is not the specialty that is needed in estate cases.
For these types of cases you need a forensic genealogist who specializes in locating genealogical records and who through meticulous and thorough analysis and correlation is able to accurately identify all of the living next-of-kin of a decedent.
Forensic genealogists work with probate attorneys, fiduciaries, trust officer, and others to help them locate a decedent's living heirs. They are able to provide their clients with a court-ready, fully-cited research report or affidavit, depending on the needs of the client and the court. They can also provide family tree charts and copies of the documents that support their findings. They can also use their databases and people-finding skills to locate most current contact information for the living heirs, to assist you with notice and distribution.
Professional forensic genealogists are registered with the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) and adhere to the APG Code of Ethics.
Forensic genealogists, unlike many heir search firms, are paid by the hour for their research and do not have any stake in the outcome of the case. So, you can trust that their findings will be unbiased and complete.
Finding a professional forensic genealogist to assist you in your estate case is invaluable. It will greatly decrease your stress, save you time and energy, and give you the confidence that you have found all living heirs to the estate.
If you have any questions about locating missing or unknown heirs in your client’s estates, I would be more than happy to speak with you and help you locate them. Please feel free to email me at Christine@discovering-connections.com or click the following link to schedule a free phone consultation online today.
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