At Title Research, we provide trusted genealogical research and asset repatriation services for legal professionals. Over the past 50+ years, we’ve developed a portfolio of services designed to help our professional clients at every stage of the estate administration timeline. By doing so, we take the effort out of locating the correct people or assets, mitigate the risk of future disputes or complications, and streamline the entire estate administration process.
We’re commonly instructed by Solicitors and Private Client Practitioners to reconstruct or verify family trees, trace missing beneficiaries, deal with UK shares, and administer foreign shares and funds. However, many of our professional clients are unaware of the additional services that we offer. That’s why this blog will look at three of Title Research’s less well-known service offerings: Dormant Balances, Will Bank Cleansing, and Historical Estates and Trusts.
1. Dormant Balances
When it comes to unclaimed client monies, all efforts should be made to return such funds. If unsuccessful, evidence is required to justify that all efforts have been made. When faced with the scenario of dormant accounts, there are various risks that legal professionals should consider:
The rightful owners of the funds may complain or criticise your firm on why they did not receive their money quicker.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority may look unfavourably on balances held as they expect all necessary attempts to return unclaimed funds to be made.
The time that may be spent reviewing files as it’s unlikely to be chargeable or otherwise profitable.
As part of your attempt to return unclaimed client monies, the Law Society recommends the use of a tracing agent. For this reason, legal professionals turn to Title Research and our many years of experience to help in such scenarios.
Our Dormant Balances service includes locating a current UK address, identifying any forwarding addresses, and establishing if a client has died. As part of our reporting, we’ll indicate if a likely forwarding address or evidence of death haven’t been traceable, allowing you to make alternative arrangements under your firm’s policies.
We have experience in dealing with all volumes and can review any number of dormant accounts; in many cases, we can arrange a fixed fee per individual that we search for. Our experience also means that we can work in most jurisdictions around the world, including the likes of South Korea, Australia, and the United States.
Case study: Unclaimed client monies
We were contacted by a firm of Solicitors who had over 80 accounts held with unclaimed monies. The firm provided us with a list of those accounts, and for those accounts where research was not feasible, we provided a report to this effect. For the others, we traced the rightful owners of the funds. This enabled the firm to satisfactorily dispose of all the funds and close many of its outstanding files.
2. Will Bank Cleansing
There are various benefits to cleansing your Will bank; carrying out this task will allow you to generate additional work from clients, retain current clients, and develop and maintain good relationships. Conducting a Will Bank Cleanse will allow your firm to:
Establish if an individual is still alive
Ensure the address on record for the individual is still current, and if not, update your records with their most recent address
Title Research can conduct a Will Bank Cleanse on your behalf, tailoring the service to your needs as well as the format and maturity of the data held. When instructed to carry out this service, we will initiate various research techniques, starting with basic mortality screening (death searches) before moving on to in-depth research of an individual with whom you may have a particular interest in establishing contact.
To better understand your needs and establish the best way in which we can assist you in achieving your objectives, we are more than happy to have an informal discussion to discuss your requirements and expectations of the project. Upon receiving this information, we’ll prepare a written proposal of research and associated costs for your consideration. To learn more about our Will Bank Cleansing service and how Title Research can help, use our form at the end of this blog to submit your enquiry.
3. Historic Estates and Trusts
We are regularly approached to help resolve historic estates or Trusts. This may be because a Trust is being wound up, or perhaps an old estate has now received additional funds. In these circumstances, it is usually necessary to identify what happened to the original beneficiaries, and if they have died, establish who is now responsible for dealing with their estates. Alternatively, you may wish to determine who is now entitled to distribute assets through a Chain of Representation. In these instances, we can determine the surviving Executor(s) and follow this through, allowing you to contact the person legally responsible for dealing with the funds.
We have a wealth of experience in resolving these complex matters and can identify the rightful beneficiaries of estates, even if the original Deceased died 100 years ago or more.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Title Research’s specialist services in both asset repatriation and genealogical research, call our Client Services Team on +44 (0) 345 87 27 600 or fill in the form below.