1. Campaigning against anti-competitive practices

Since 2015 we have been examining the factors – and unpicking the myths – that lead local authorities to form exclusive relationships with heir hunters. In the course of our investigation, we have gathered ample evidence that these local monopolies encourage excessive fees and can sometimes even result in intestate estates being wrongly distributed. We have produced two substantial reports on the subject, had questions raised in the House of Commons, and made representations to the Government Legal Department.

For most of England and Wales, Government policy is that when someone dies intestate, with no known next of kin, the estate should be referred to the Bona Vacantia Division “as soon as possible aſter death”. However, some intestacies cannot be referred – either because the value of the estate is below £500, or there is good reason to believe that relatives exist.

In these cases, we recommend that councils advertise intestacy details on their own websites, in a similar way to the unclaimed estates list. Alternatively, they can encourage competition and prevent abuse by referring each case to a number of genealogists concurrently. We have devised a simple, practical model for this:

2. Campaigning against double-charging

In 2016 we launched our campaign against double charging for birth, marriage and death certificates.

3. Helping victims of negligence and malpractice

At Anglia Research we will do whatever we can to help next of kin who fall prey to unscrupulous heir hunters – and will always report fraudulent practice to the relevant authorities.