Missing Heirs and Beneficiaries

Finding missing beneficiaries is bread and butter to us and we can help locate people all over the world. 

Though that’s not to say that locating who we are looking for is always straightforward; every search is different.

Whether it’s tracing every single one of the 100 lost heirs to an unclaimed estate, checking the electoral roll over half a century to locate someone who knows a missing beneficiary, or using search string after search string to identify a man who changed his name, we dig deeper, search harder and get results.

Should you need to find the unknown heirs to an intestacy, or track down a missing beneficiary named in a will, we offer a fast, friendly and affordable service.

Our staff have a level of expertise unmatched in the field of probate research and our forensic reports are readily accepted for missing beneficiary indemnity insurance.

(Underwriters will always need to know what steps have been taken in trying to locate missing beneficiaries – they will not simply issue a policy without a verified report issued by a trusted genealogy firm).

Whether a missing heir in an intestacy case or a beneficiary (or executor) named in a will that needs locating, we are always happy to discuss your requirements.

For a free initial consultation with one of our accredited and highly experienced team, please contact us.


Learn more about our work

The three snapshots of our work below illustrate how determination and a detailed knowledge of the available sources can beat the odds and crack cases that seem almost impossible.

Case manager Christopher Ferry discusses a case involving five different countries and over 100 lost heirs.

One notable case involved twin sisters who died within two months of each other. Both were intestate and both had assets of significant value. The solicitors had been instructed by one stem of the family but not much was known about the wider tree.

Ultimately, we located over 100 beneficiaries with shares ranging from 1/6th of the estate to a 1/3204th. The family were spaced out across France, Canada, America, South Africa and Australia.

This research was conducted on a contingency basis with Anglia Research underwriting the cost of the work. It took more than two years to tie up the case, which was very complex in places and involved a lot of dogged persistence chasing relatives for signatures.

However large the family, and however widely scattered, the law insists that every legitimate beneficiary receives their rightful share – so we worked the case to completion, as we always do. The detailed genealogical reports that we produced meant that we could obtain missing beneficiary indemnity insurance to protect the personal representative.

(For reasons of confidentiality, names and other identifying features have been altered.)

Case manager Rachel Knock describes how she solved a particularly difficult case using persistence and ingenuity.

A colleague and I were trying to find out what had happened to a Jewish gentleman with the popular, but not overtly Jewish, surname Marks. Between us we had exhausted the usual channels and drawn a blank.

It was then that I undertook a trawl of the London Gazette naturalisation notices using a vast variety of search strings, finally using just part of his home address.

Eureka! It appeared that the gentleman had actually dropped his original unusual surname in favour of using his middle name Marks, but the naturalisation record clearly showed the ‘known as’ alternative and all the other facts fitted.

From this I was able to swiftly locate a probate entry for his father’s will and further civil records that confirmed his identity and those of his beneficiaries.

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Managing director Peter Turvey discusses a time-charged case that was solved in under two hours.

Anne 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. Anne Meredith had not seen or heard of the Jones family since 1946, when Alice was just four years old.

The executor turned to Anglia Research for help. Given such a widespread surname and lack of 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, we noticed 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 kept in touch. An up-to-date address for Alice in South Africa was produced in record time. The case was solved in under two hours of research.

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