There are a plethora of genealogists and family historians operating in the UK, many of whom offer to undertake genealogy and people tracing work to help resolve probate and estate matters for solicitors. But how do you know that the organisation you are using is the best choice for you and your client? Is the cheapest option always the best?
Two recent cases that Title Research have been involved in may make you consider your options carefully. Read about each case or watch the videos below to find out more.
In the first – the intestate estate of Philip King – we became involved in a potentially contentious matter. Our client approached us because they were dealing with two potential administrators located by different genealogists who both claimed to be first cousins (one on the paternal and one on the maternal side) and entitled to extract the Grant of Letters of Administration. Despite several attempts our client was unable to obtain documentary proof from either side’s individual genealogist as to whether either person was actually entitled. As such, we were approached and asked to help resolve the argument once and for all. We started from the basics – documenting the Deceased’s birth, parent’s marriage before establishing the identity of the whole blood uncles and aunts on both sides. It didn’t take us long before we realised that the paternal first cousin was actually descended from a half blood uncle, where as the maternal first cousin was descended from a whole blood aunt. The dispute was settled, but could easily have been avoided if one or both of the original genealogists had documented all the relevant events.
The second case – that of Janet Strong – was also an intestacy that fell to the class of whole blood uncles and aunts. Here, our client had already instructed a firm of genealogists to identify all of the relevant beneficiaries, and they claimed to have finished the matter. Being cautious, our client approached insurers to obtain a quotation for missing beneficiary insurance. However, the insurers rejected the work carried out by the original genealogy firm as they were unknown to them and their report was also insufficiently detailed. We were subsequently instructed and carried out our normal research to verify the family tree – these methodologies are accepted by all major insurers – and uncovered an additional 23 potential heirs not previously identified.
Title Research’s research methods have been developed over more than 50 years, and are designed with insurance specifically in mind at all times and our reports are ‘insurance ready’ at no additional cost. When comparing providers of genealogy services, make sure that your provider of choice can obtain insurance on the basis of their report. This will minimise the risk for you and your client repeating work unnecessarily. We work in partnership with solicitors to minimise risk and maximise the value of the estate for distribution.