…[where a person has died with no known next of kin & to avoid possible future complaints from next of kin by delaying before trying to locate them]… Curran suggests an alternative course of action:

  • Avoiding spending time and incurring costs unnecessarily.
  • Take free advice – contact a genealogist at an early stage and take advantage of a contingency fee arrangement if offered. Agree the commission rate in advance if required.
  • Try not to incur estate expenses until next of kin are located and there are formal instructions.
  • Wait for the genealogist to provide details of entitled kin.
  • Offer services to the located kin in the usual way, explaining your involvement to date.
  • Apply for the Grant and continue to administer the estate. It may now only be seven days since you called the genealogist and you can only be praised for your prompt and efficient action.

‘Next of kin can often be located in as little as 24 to 48 hours’ says Curran. And he adds: ‘I have never known a beneficiary not to see the sense and cost savings in instructing a firm that already has extensive knowledge of the estate, and they have always proceeded with the solicitors who already have involvement.’ At the outset, a reputable firm of genealogists will give a written assessment of the likelihood of tracing next of kin free of charge. If the genealogist offers a contingency fee arrangement, again there will be no charge and no risk to the estate, because the genealogist bears all research costs, including all disbursements and agents’ fees, and should still report their findings to the solicitor.

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