It’s a thrilling thing to imagine: Out of the blue, one day you receive a phone call to say that you’re entitled to a substantial inheritance that you knew nothing about. It may seem like a far-fetched idea but, surprisingly, data suggests that as many as one out of every ten individuals has unrecovered assets somewhere out there in the ether. These may be in the form of an estranged estate, life insurance proceeds, uncashed dividends, or dormant accounts—and many more examples.
When it comes to tracking those who are rightfully entitled to unclaimed assets of some form or another, heir search and genealogy firms are the ones who take up the task of connecting the dots. In the case of estates, trusts, or guardianships, an attorney or administrator may be diligently endeavoring to locate and identify the heirs in question—but they often have their work cut out for them.
Looking back across the last fifteen years, of the billions of dollars worth of unrecovered assets that wait patiently in America to be united with their rightful owners, only around 5% have been released. When the scope of the task exceeds the capacity of those on the front lines, an heir search investigator may be called upon to step in.
What It Means to Conduct and Heir Search
When discussing heir search assistance, the term investigator is certainly on the nose. This is because conducting a successful heir search usually means sleuthing through all manner of documentation, and chasing leads wherever they may carry the case at hand. Valuable capacities such as intricate training in investigative research and the licensure required to delve into databases—those usually reserved for authority agencies—mean that qualified heir search investigators can quickly pull together jigsaw puzzle pieces that their clients cannot access.
Of course, an heir search usually has two facets. The first is to identify any and all heirs or beneficiaries to which an unclaimed asset rightfully belongs. The second is to successfully locate and initiate communication with that person or those persons. In the name of the former an heir search firm will likely conduct a genealogy investigation. In the case of the latter, making a connection may be simple, but at times, conducting geographical—and sometimes even international—searches for heirs can become complex.
What is a Genealogy Investigation?
The type of genealogical research conducted by an heir search firm is also sometimes known as forensic genealogy. It involves accessing an array of verified genealogy and record databases in order to build a complete and comprehensive family tree. In the case of heirships, this allows all who are entitled to inheritance to be successfully identified.
When families have become estranged, assets have sat in trust or under guardianship, or they have been held as lost assets for some time, the path that leads to rightful heirs or claimants can be anything but clear. In inheritance cases, a genealogy investigation can shine a light on who might reap the benefits of the release of those assets—this can be particularly pertinent in adoption cases. When a rightful claim is due outside of the family, an heir investigator will instead strive to fully document the thread that ties that individual to the estate in question.
With Puzzle Pieces in Place, What Happens Next?
Once an heir search investigator has uncovered all of the information required, more still remains to be done. A prosperous claim requires absolute due-diligence, and an air-tight case that presents the facts in a clear and legally versed manner. This is the juncture at which heir search assistance transitions into forging a well-rounded presentation of intelligence that will meet the requirements of probate, of the entity holding assets deemed lost, or of the court overseeing an heirship or beneficiary claim.
In this phase of the heir search process, fluency in the legal ins and outs of succession are essential. An heir search investigator should be able to provide any attorney with absolute confidence in the integrity of their casework, and may be called upon to provide expert witness testimony before a judge. When acting on behalf of a client hoping to inherit, they may also serve as a liaison with law firms and officials, or provide high-caliber referrals to ensure that the final stages of the asset return journey are met with just reward.
Discover the Return Assets Division of Lauth Investigations
Lauth Investigations is proud to provide an umbrella-like scope of investigative services, including heir search assistance, captained by seasoned private investigator Thomas Lauth and his wife Rain. With a phenomenal track record spanning more than three decades, the Lauth empire encompasses Missing Person Investigations, Private Investigations, and all manner of Corporate Investigations. In 2012, the couple launched their Return Assets Division with the intent that they would be able to make that very thrilling idea—getting that unexpected phone call—a reality for individuals and families across America.
Since the inception of the Return Assets Division, the Lauths and their highly skilled team have aided rightful owners and heirs in the retrieval of more than $15 million of assets, with a 98% rate of success. In testament to these credentials, the Return Assets Division often work on a contingency fee basis, so the client only pays for their services after receiving the assets they are due.
Drawing upon their exceptionally broad skill set and the broader Lauth pool of resources, the Return Assets team are able to scale every heir search investigation as needed, both in terms of man-power and locational scope. Simultaneously, their extensive investigative experience ensures an ever-swift, communicative, and adept service—as reflected in their glowing A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. If you’d like to know more, explore their Heir Search Services further, or contact the heir search team today.