Probate Genealogy

  • Research family trees
  • Trace missing Beneficiaries
  • Peace of mind for executors
  • Essential when buying Missing Beneficiary Insurance

Insuristic works exclusively with Perene, a leading UK genealogy firm.

What's on this page

On this page you will find a lot of useful information to help you understand how a Probate Genealogist could help you.

If you would like to speak to a genealogist, we recommend Perane.

You can click on any of the items in 'Contents' to jump to the section that interests you.


What is a Probate Genealogist?

A probate genealogist is a specialised researcher who locates and identifies missing heirs to an estate.

They play a crucial role in the probate process, ensuring that all potential beneficiaries are accounted for before the estate is distributed.

Probate genealogists employ a range of investigative techniques to trace family lineages, including reviewing public records, analysing genetic data, and conducting interviews with relatives.

Their expertise is essential in cases where there is no known next of kin or where beneficiaries have lost touch with the deceased.

What is the role of a Probate Genealogist?

The primary responsibility of a probate genealogist is to:

Locate missing heirs:

Probate genealogists can help you find missing beneficiaries. Their methods include:

  • making local inquiries

  • searching the records for births, deaths and marriages

  • checking records held at libraries, archives and online

  • having conversations with known family members or friends of the deceased; and

  • searching social media.

Resolve complex situations:

A Probate genealogists can help determine who is entitled to share in an estate, when the estate is complex or large. Probate genealogists know how best to identify the correct beneficiaries to the estate in a sensitive and timely manner.

Particularly if family members have become estranged or separated, it’s a good idea to use probate genealogy to help you identify and locate beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate, as it gives the peace of mind to determine that all known beneficiaries have been located. 

Examples of complex situations can be when an estate involves:

  • A blended family (where a couple have children from previous relationships.

  • Adoption (both formal and informal).

  • Separation, divorce or remarriage, which then involves step-relatives.

Identify inheritance rights:

A key part of a probate genealogist’s role is to find missing heirs and then to prove their rights to the estate. This can be done by acquiring certificates of birth, marriage and death to prove the genealogical connection to the deceased and conducting research to establish that there are no more highly-entitled relatives.

Locate Assets:

probate research can also help to find missing assets. By conducting an asset search, probate genealogists are able to establish if any of the deceased’s assets are missing, such as property they owned, bank accounts or pensions. This allows the estate to be resolved in a timely fashion and in its entirety.

Probate genealogists utilise various resources in their research, such as:

  • Searching Public Records: Birth, death, marriage, and census records provide valuable insights into an individual's family history and potential heirs.

  • Searching Online Databases: Ancestry websites, genealogical forums, and social media platforms can offer clues about the whereabouts of missing heirs.

  • Utilising Genetic Data: DNA testing can be used to confirm relationships between distant relatives and identify potential heirs.

  • Arranging Interviews with Relatives: Conversations with family members can provide valuable information about the deceased's family tree and potential heirs.

Once potential heirs have been identified, probate genealogists must verify their lineage and eligibility to inherit from the estate. This may involve obtaining legal documents, such as birth certificates and marriage records, to establish familial connections.

The benefits of a Probate Genealogist

Engaging a probate genealogist offers numerous benefits to the probate process:

  • Provide access to resources:  Specialist probate genealogists take a strategic approach and using years of invaluable experience are able to make the most effective use of tools, contacts and specialist databases and records to reconstruct family trees swiftly and accurately.

  • They help uncover lots of missing information: Probate genealogy can help fill in any blanks when it comes to estate administration.  Probate genealogists can trace missing executors named in a Will, as well as find any missing heirs named in a Will or those identified as next of kin in intestate cases. Genealogists can also help uncover information such as misplaced assets and insurance policies.

  • Genealogists will help to collect and organise documentation: making it easier for the estate to be administered efficiently and according to the law. Estate administration is concluded far more quickly and accurately as a result.

  • Ensures Equitable Distribution of Assets: By locating and identifying all potential heirs, probate genealogists help ensure that assets are distributed fairly and in accordance with the law.

  • Resolves Family Disputes: In cases where there are conflicting claims to an estate, probate genealogists can provide expert testimony to resolve disputes and determine the rightful heirs. For example, they can confirm blood relationships or establish any gaps in a family tree, settling disagreements with the help of the law.

  • Experts in Probate Law: Probate Genealogists understand probate legal and are able to correctly identify the heirs to an estate in line with the law of whichever country an individual died in. This ensures that all beneficiaries are correctly identified and verified, which speeds up the probate process.

In addition to these primary benefits, probate genealogists can also:

  • Reduce the Risk of Fraud: By verifying the identity and lineage of heirs, probate genealogists can help protect estates from fraudulent claims.

  • Provide Peace of Mind: Knowing that all potential heirs have been accounted for can provide executors and beneficiaries with peace of mind during the probate process.

Genealogy Reports and Missing Beneficiary Insurance

A condition of a Missing Beneficiary Insurance policy is that you have appointed a professional genealogist to produce a genealogy report.

Our insurer partner, CLS, will often provide a better price if you instruct the genealogist on a variable fee plus disbursements basis (rather than a fixed fee) to ensure the report is completed thoroughly.

The insurer will require a copy of the report to be used in their underwriting process.

Once you have your genealogy report back, you will be able to obtain a missing beneficiary insurance quotation by visiting our webpage here and completing our online form. 

We can usually provide a missing beneficiary insurance quotation in 2 working days. 

How to choose a probate genealogist

When selecting a probate genealogist, consider the following factors:

  • Experience and Expertise: Choose a genealogist with extensive experience in probate research and a proven track record of success.

  • Licenses, Insurance and Certifications: Ensure the genealogist holds relevant licenses, professional indemnity insurance and certifications thus demonstrating their commitment to professional standards.

  • Communication and Collaboration: Seek a genealogist who communicates effectively, keeps you informed throughout the process, and collaborates with other professionals involved in the probate case.

  • Fees and Costs: Clearly understand the genealogist's fee structure and the costs involved in conducting the research.

A reputable probate genealogist can be an invaluable asset in ensuring the fair and efficient distribution of an estate.

Their expertise in locating and identifying missing heirs can prevent escheatment, resolve family disputes, and provide peace of mind to all parties involved.

Contact Perene, our genealogy partner for a quote

Related Probate Insurance Pages

About the Author

Rob Faulkner CEO of Insuristic

Hi, I'm Rob, CEO and Founder of Insuristic. My mission is to make insurance easier to understand and buy online.

I hold an Advanced Diploma in Insurance (ACII) which demonstrates I have a solid technical understanding of Insurance and have committed to continuous professional development. I am also a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute and hold the a Chartered Insurance Broker status.

Over the last 27 years, I have worked for insurers, insurance brokers and insurance technology businesses, specialising in product, sales and marketing.

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