Finders were shocked to learn recently that at least one of one of our main competitors in the field of probate genealogy has taken the decision to send key legal research overseas to be completed as a cost-cutting measure.
Finders wish to make it clear that our research is done in-house by fully trained and supervised staff and we feel that such attempts to save money are seriously misguided. We understand that “Best Practice” dictates that trained professionals carry out supervised research in all matters. Finders are passionate about observing all aspects of “Best Practice” and our clients can be confident that by instructing us they are not placing themselves or their clients at any risk, something they may not be sure of if using a firm who outsources research abroad.
Inheritance depends on accurate research and results. If key life events are searched for in an unsupervised environment by non-native English speakers, the temptation is there for the piece worker to skip through research that should be done carefully and correctly, in order to increase pay. There are many more issues too.
If life events such as births, marriage and death are missed during research, which is still done by searching through listings manually, people can be disinherited or results may be distorted or simply incorrect.
The implications for Missing Beneficiary Indemnity Insurance are huge too. Aviva (formerly Norwich Union) Union approves Finders research in the knowledge that this is done by trained professionals in-house. It is possible that they will dispute or refuse claims on cases where research has been carried out overseas.
In our experience, research to build a family tree and thereby trace missing or unknown beneficiaries to Estates and to find next-of-kin on Intestacy is often the subject of ongoing discussion in our office in order to ensure accuracy and completeness. Would a foreign firm be able to understand those purely English idiosyncrasies that typify English family research? Typical examples may include searches of indexes where Finders know that Johnston could be recorded as Johnstone or Johnson, or Mary Ann as Polly, Peggy as Margaret and John as Jack. These are the tip of an enormous iceberg and the question is would such variations be picked up?
Daniel Curran, Managing Director of Finders has 19 years experience in the field and doubts the wisdom of using cheap overseas labour in legal matters. “It’s clearly a decision based on money and in my opinion it’s the wrong one and it will almost certainly lead to major errors and insurance claims” he says. “Ethically we find it questionable too” he adds, “we always pay our staff a professional wage and treat them fairly and ethically. I would be uncomfortable relinquishing such control over staff welfare and treatment to a third party on the other side of the world”.