Identifying Potential Beneficiaries In Cases of Intestacy

In most cases when someone dies without a legal or valid will, the rules of intestacy can clearly be applied and the estate distributed among the appropriate people. However in a quite a few cases, finding out who the appropriate people are, and where they are, can be quite a challenge.

In these situations the services of a Probate Researcher will be needed; someone whose job it is to find the right people.

The Probate Researcher is usually someone with a background in Genealogy – the study of ancestry – who will work out the family tree of the deceased and hence identify anyone who stands to benefit under the rules.

In some cases this can be relatively simple, but in others it can be an enormous and complicated task. As well as identifying who will benefit from an estate, the job of the Probate Researcher involves identifying any assets that the deceased may have had that are not clearly available at their death; for example money in accounts that no-one else knew about, or insurance policies that may be due to pay out but have not been claimed.

How does the process work?

The Probate Researcher’s job is to identify all of the potential beneficiaries to an estate and make contact with them. When the time is right the researcher will compile an evidenced claim to the Estate and this will be submitted to the relevant authority. At this stage an administrator will be appointed who will ultimately be responsible for the distribution of the estate.

The timescales involved can vary massively; in some simple cases the whole process can be completed within a few months, but in other more complicated cases it can take several years before all beneficiaries are identified and agreed.


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