AngliaResearch’s expertise and dedication has been instrumental in tracing thousands of missing and unknown beneficiaries. Below are some example case histories that illustrate how how we can help to find that missing piece of the puzzle. (For reasons of confidentiality, names and other identifying features have been altered)
John Osborn and his family had occupied land and property for several generations, but there was a problem in that no clear legal title had ever been established. When his Will was being drawn up, Mr. Osborn employed solicitors, who in turn used a research firm in an attempt to resolve the issue, but all enquiries failed and led nowhere.
When John Osborn died his Executor turned to Anglia Research for help. It was a huge tangle; surnames had been spelt in a variety of ways and Deeds and Wills, when located, described relationships incorrectly. For example, ‘my nephew Ben Shepherd’ turned out to be a great-nephew born Thomas Richard Benjamin Sheppard. Clearly a forensic-style investigation was required. Over a period of 18 months, intricate research led to the correct identities being established so the devolution of the land and property could be legally proven and John Osborn’s beneficiaries eventually shared a further £2,000,000 windfall.
Miss Meredith had no relatives to leave her fortune to and most of it went to friends and charitable causes. However, she did insist on a bequest of £500,000 to her goddaughter Alice Jones. Unfortunately, as she freely explained to her executor, Alice had been the daughter of her neighbours in World War II and they’d lost touch after the war. Miss Meredith had not seen or heard of the Jones family since 1946, when Alice was just 4 years old.
Given such a widespread surname and the sparse detail, the assignment promised to be a nightmare. However, in examining a post-World War II electoral register for the street in question and comparing it with a present-day list, it was noted that one residential surname stayed the same, despite the passage of time. It transpired that not only had this family lived in the same house for three generations, one of their daughters had been a close friend and schoolmate of Alice Jones and the two had always kept in touch. Without further ado an up-to-date address for Alice in South Africa was produced in record time. Both the Executor and Alice were amazed at the outcome and how it had been accomplished within less than two hours of research!
Edward Procter died intestate. He was a recluse who had never married and his only sibling, a brother, was killed in a car accident, in his teens. It was thought that he had no next-of-kin.
After receiving details from the family solicitor; Anglia Research discovered that in fact both Mr Procter’s parents were from extremely large families. Over the next few months detailed research revealed that the deceased had twenty-one aunts and uncles, all of whom left issue. Eventually, Mr Procter’s modest estate was distributed to eighty-six of his distant relatives.