In the case of intestacy there are many hurdles between starting the search for beneficiaries and final distribution of the estate to the entitled heirs.One of these is to conduct a Bankruptcy Search on those who are entitled to inherit and now Finders have introduced a Worldwide Bankruptcy Search service.

Professional probate genealogists, like Finders, commonly know as ‘heir hunters’, will have the facilities and experienced staff to deal with any issues that may arise, and offer a range of services like Worldwide Bankruptcy Search which gives assurance to anyone appointing them to trace missing beneficiaries. Finders heir hunters have a network of agents throughout the world and will feature in the new series of the BBC TV daytime show Heir Hunters which starts in 2014. On the show Finders are followed as they unravel intestacies, tracing missing or unknown beneficiaries and reuniting them with their rightful inheritance.

The process starts with the deceased and the search for a will. It is a cause of constant surprise to the heir hunters that so many people do not have a will or that they have a will that is not up to date or, frustratingly for the potential beneficiaries, a will that cannot be found. Even if there is a will there may be named heirs who are unknown to the executors who will engage a probate genealogy company to trace those missing beneficiaries. When there isn’t a will the probate genealogists go into heir hunting mode and invest their own time and expense to find those entitled heirs.


Although tracing the beneficiaries is not necessarily easy, especially when there is an international dimension it is only the start of the process. Their identities have to be checked and proved, an administrator has to be appointed as do solicitors to handle the legal aspects of the application but it doesn’t end there.

Prior to making distribution of estate funds to beneficiaries, it is a requirement to run a bankruptcy search against each individual heir in line to inherit. This again becomes more complex when heirs live abroad or have lived abroad. Finders can conduct these searches in a number of countries and can also undertake bankruptcy searches for UK based beneficiaries.

Assuming everything is in order and the estate is distributed to those rightfully entitled heirs there is one more thing to consider. What if a previously unknown beneficiary emerges who has a claim on the estate? It is the duty of search companies to go to every length to ensure that all those entitled have been traced, but on very rare occasions there may be someone who was completely unknown but who has a claim. This is why Finders carry missing beneficiary insurance another service that benefits heirs as well as both trustees and administrators.

The Worldwide Bankruptcy Search service is another of the many and increasing services Finders offer to both trustees and administrators, services that include, Missing Will Insurance, Dormant and Orphan Funds, Property Transactions-Missing Funds, Missing Will Service, Missing Document Service, Probate Property Sales and Services, Transferable Nil Rate Band Service, Missing Asset Service and many others.

Finders have been awarded the ISO 9001:2008 Total Quality Management certification and are the first probate genealogy firm to achieve the international version of this Standard as devised by the IAB (International Accreditation Board). Finders also provide missing beneficiary insurance, which protects trustees and administrators against the event of an unknown beneficiary emerging after an estate, has been distributed. As agents for Aviva they are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

For further information and advice contact:
Finders, 6-8 Vestry Street,
N1 7RE
020 7490 4935

Daniel Curran
Written by Daniel Curran
Daniel is a leading figure in the UK Heir Hunting industry. He is from Isleworth in West London and has lived in London for most of his life. He has been in the probate genealogy profession since 1990. He formed Finders in 1997 after 7 years at another firm.