If you’ve been presented with an intestate estate and believe you have a complete family tree, it’s advisable to get it professionally verified to ensure it’s correct. Family relationships are not always as straightforward as they may appear. There are a number of scenarios where entitled relatives can go unidentified. Ask yourself probing questions when you’re presented with a family tree, such as:
Are you certain the adopted child was legally adopted in?
Did the predeceased cousin have children with his first wife?
You’re aware that an uncle has died, however, are you confident he didn’t get married?
Was the deceased’s mother definitely an only child?
Our family tree verification service, FamilyChecker™, is designed to provide peace of mind and clarity. It protects Personal Representatives from any potential future liability from unknown beneficiaries. If you provide us with a believed complete family tree, our experienced genealogy team will check it for accuracy by:
Documenting any events of birth, marriage, death or adoption that have not already been obtained
Carrying out confirmatory searches of the birth and marriage indices to make sure that the family tree is correct
Interviewing all potential heirs to make sure that all information is correct
If we find the family tree to be accurate, we will provide you with the following on completion of our verification work:
An insurance policy arranged by Trust & Probate Insurance – part of Legal & Contingency Limited, a specialist insurance intermediary and Lloyd’s of London Coverholder*
Certificates proving entitlement (where not already provided at the outset)
A distribution schedule detailing fractional entitlement
A diagrammatic family tree
If there is any uncertainty about the makeup of the family, you may need to reconstruct the family tree for complete clarity. Our family tree reconstruction service can give you greater insight into family lines and help in cases where little or no information is known.
On several occasions, we have witnessed our clients come close to misdistribution before they instructed Title Research to verify a family tree. In these cases, Personal Representatives would have been subsequently liable for any claims made against the estate. By getting the family tree professionally verified, you can ensure that all entitled people are included, and unentitled people are excluded.
When Mrs K died intestate, we were appointed by our solicitor client to verify that the believed family was correct. Our client found two nieces and a nephew that descended from Mrs K’s late brother. However, we discovered that Mrs K had 10 siblings who had all died before her. After descending each line, we proved that three of her siblings had no children. The remainder of her siblings did have children and our research uncovered 34 heirs in total, all living in the UK, Australia and the US.
Please note: *A missing beneficiary indemnity policy protecting the Personal Representatives and beneficiaries from any potential future liability, in respect of any unknown beneficiaries entitled under the laws of intestacy. This service is only available for UK research. The cost of the Insurance policy is included in our fee.
If you're considering verifying a family tree, you may find these related services useful.
Our dedicated team of experts are available Monday to Friday between 8am - 5.30pm to ensure a resolution is achieved smoothly and efficiently.
If we find the family tree to be correct, we will provide you with an insurance policy*, arranged by Trust and Probate Insurance, on completion of the work.
Our useful resources can help you learn more about dealing with an intestacy.