You’ve received a letter from Finders International. Real or fake?

The average consumer nowadays is a savvy individual, so letters that tell us we might be in line for an inheritance or share of an inheritance are often viewed with suspicion.
After all, we’ve seen the horror stories where scammers persuade people to hand over their bank account details, promising them vast sums of money only to empty out their accounts instead.
No-one wants to take that risk.

Probate research investigations

If you receive a letter from us where we say that our probate research investigations have identified you as the potential heir to an estate, there are some steps you can take to assure yourself of our credentials.
Please note – this advice is widely applicable. If another company or individual has contacted you making the same claim, then you can take the same steps there too.
Your first question is likely to be, how did this company find me? Professional probate researchers work for solicitors, local authorities, health boards and private individuals.

Died intestate

They mainly work in cases where someone has died intestate (i.e. they had no valid will when they died) and appears to have no known next of kin. Tracing next of kin is difficult and time-consuming for solicitors and local authorities, which is where firms like Finders International come in.
We have had years of practise tracing heirs quickly and easily.
To find the rightful heirs, we use census records and various other archives and databases to piece together the deceased person’s family tree. Oftentimes, we find people who may have only a vague recollection of their dead relatives or have not heard of them at all.

Entitled relatives

Who inherits an estate in cases where there is no valid will is decided according to intestacy laws in the country where that person lived. Should you receive a letter from us, this means we believe you (and possibly others) are the nearest entitled relatives.
The savvy consumer, though, will still want to know: How can I trust you and how do I know you are not scamming me?
A letter or email from a genuine company or individual will have phone numbers, websites and other information on it. Check if the company is registered with company house. Look at the accreditations on the website. Read reviews on Trustpilot.

Professional organisation memberships

See if the researcher contacting you belongs to official bodies, such as the Association of Professional Genealogists or the National Association of Paralegals, both of which hold members to high professional and ethical standards.
A probate research company that does not fear scrutiny may also be a member of the International Association of Professional Probate Researchers, which ensure that companies who sign up agree to a code of conduct and ethics.
We know that many letters or emails that arrive in people’s letterbox or inboxes claiming they are due money are fraudulent. But if you do receive a letter from us saying the same, be assured that we believe it is highly likely you are due to receive money.
And that can only be a good thing!