Whether you are an attorney or administrator seeking assistance in tracking down an heir, or you are simply someone who has recently been notified that you may be entitled to unclaimed assets, how can you be certain that the firm before you possesses the skill and integrity to warrant your trust? An heir search investigator can be a huge investment for your business, but do you know what to look for in a potential firm?
In recent years, an increasing number of heir search companies have popped up advertising their services. However, the fully-rounded toolkit required to complete comprehensive heir searches and genealogy investigations is not something that can be built overnight. Here, we will delve into the indicators that set a reputable firm apart from the rest. With these points in mind, you will be able to choose a collaborator that will provide heir search assistance upon which you can rely.
A Proven and Public Track-Record
If the task of identifying and locating heirs was always a simple one, then the world would not see the scale of unclaimed assets that it does today. Staggeringly, tens of billions of unclaimed assets sit in limbo because those initially assigned to identifying their rightful owners were unable to see their role through to completion.
This may indicate that a lack of initial resources drew the search to a premature close, or it may simply indicate that those responsible for completing the task have come up against substantial hurdles! These are the moments within which an heir search investigator might step in—but, as you can no doubt imagine, that means that an extensive level of experience and understanding will be required in order to achieve success where others have not.
Pursuing a successful claim against assets that are currently adrift means building a clear and unquestionable picture through information gathering and documentation. An heir search investigator will work alongside a genealogy specialist who can research and form a full family tree, so that no heir is left unaccounted for—or they may possess the skills to perform both tasks, depending on the magnitude of the investigation.
The firm you choose should hold state licensure that will enable them to dive into the verified databases used by law enforcement and government agencies to uncover the information that will aid in the completion of that picture. Your partnership with a heir search investigator should also serve as a direct connection to any third-party specialists that your unique case may require. Finally, the credentials of the firm of your choosing should extend far beyond their own website. Look for reviews and testimonials, a wider online presence and, crucially, an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
The Capacity to Scale Investigations as Necessary
An heir search can, at times, become more complex that it at first appeared. Beyond identifying those to whom assets may be due, an heir search investigator’s role may extend to carrying out field work on a national or even international scale. It may also require liaising with a broad range of legal entities and authorities.
Of course, heir search assistance should always be enacted with efficiency in mind, but there is value in knowing that your firm of choice is not only ready and able to scale if you require it, but also highly experienced in doing so. Consider factors such as the scale of resources at your chosen firm’s fingertips, their capacity to dispatch investigators, and to provide multilingual support staff where necessary.
A Complete Understanding of Legal Aspects
The act of making a successful claim upon any asset is fundamentally a legal one. Knowing that you or your client are a rightful heir is not enough—proof is required. As such, a key aspect of any heir search and genealogy firm’s spectrum of talents must be carrying out due-diligence when it comes to providing every necessary piece of documentation.
Going further, not only should your chosen collaborator be ready to collate and present all information in a format that suits court proceedings or the filing of a claim with an asset holding entity, but they should also be adept at providing witness testimony in court, should the need arise. The better your heir search investigator understands the specific requirements that the presented case must meet, they better able they will be to ensure a just reward for you or your client.
A Transparent and Integral Approach to Communication
From the moment your relationship begins with any heir search investigator, you as their client should perfectly know the lay of the land. This begins with transparency in regard to the costs associated with proving heirship, and no upfront fees for core services rendered.
Reputable firms will work on a contingency basis, absorbing costs as the case progresses, and only receiving the pre-agreed fee upon successful recovery of the asset or successful identification of all heirs sought. Depending on the nature of the investigation, costs may be charged at a flat rate, an hourly rate, or on a percentage basis—whichever may be the case, you should be able to enjoy the confidence of knowing where you stand from day one.
The heir search assistance you require may simply come in the form of geneology research and records searches, or it may span into the realms of expert witness testimony or far-flung field investigations. Whether a single investigator or an entire team are working busily on your behalf, updates should be forthcoming at every step of the journey.
Heir Search and Genealogy Investigations from Lauth’s Return Assets Division
Drawing upon decades of investigative experience, the skilled operatives here within the Return Assets Division of Lauth Investigations place due-diligence and integrity and the forefront of everything we do. We work tirelessly to restore assets to their rightful owners, providing peace of mind for heirs, attorneys, and administrators alike as they navigate the successful dissemination of estates, trust and guardianships. Learn more about our Heir Search Services, or contact our team today.