Estate research – also known as probate research or forensic genealogy – isn’t new. Here’s what you can expect when you hire our team of forensic genealogists.
Colonel “Jim” Smith, a millionaire farmer from Georgia, died without a will in 1916. People were eager to prove they were his next of kin and hired lawyers to try to do it! Estate research has been around for a long, long time.
Legacy Tree Genealogists: The Trusted Probate Research Firm
If you’re interested in hiring Legacy Tree Genealogists for estate research, also called probate research, forensic genealogy, heirship research, or heir searching, here’s some helpful information:
Legacy Tree has experience working with Public Administrators, court-appointed administrators, individual executors, and even geneticists in their quest to account for heirs of common ancestors.
Unlike many probate research companies, we do not work on a commission that takes a percentages of the estate. Each hour is billed and appropriately accounted for as we strive to productively accomplish the work as quickly as possible. We provide copies of all documents used to assemble the relationships presented, which are accompanied by citations for easy reference.
Probate Research: What to Expect
In many ways, the processes and charges for probate research are the same as they are for general genealogical work. There are some aspects, however, that are unique to heirship research. Please consider the following:
Is the work time-sensitive? We do our best to accommodate court dates, but records are not always immediately available or must be ordered from other repositories or government agencies. We will keep you informed so that you can make adjustments as necessary.
How Much Does Probate Research Cost?
Payment is required in advance for a minimum of five hours used as a research retainer for initial analysis of the probate case to determine the scope of work. At the end of this allotted time, we will provide a proposal for additional time required, if necessary, and will include cost proposals to present to courts for release of funds to facilitate advance payments. This can generally be delivered within several days. If there are time constraints we need to work within, please let us know and we will make every effort to meet those deadlines. Client approval and payment is required to proceed. The final report has a turnaround time of about 3-8 weeks. If success is reached with additional time remaining, the balance will be refunded upon conclusion of the project.
In addition to the hourly rates for research services, Legacy Tree may need to bill for outside services such as death certificates, marriage records, obituary notices/local newspaper searches, background checks (on relatives discovered, for potential relationships to other individuals), database fees, and other incidentals that may occur. Client approval will be obtained prior to incurring any additional costs.
Required Permissions to Proceed with Probate Research
You will be asked to clearly indicate whether Legacy Tree Genealogists can contact living descendants to help expedite the compilation of additional relatives, and whether the purpose for contact can be disclosed or not. By default, all client objectives and any research performed on their behalf remains confidential. However, since the very nature of heirship research is to uncover and collaborate living relatives, effective communication can save countless hours and reduce financial requirements considerably. Research will not proceed without this issue being explicitly addressed.
Affidavit of Diligent Search for Kinship
Each heirship project is presented to the client differently, tailoring itself to the unique environment surrounding that particular project. There is minimal narrative or historical content provided, except as needed for explanation of evidence. Rather, a concise display of information is shown in a way that readily explains the relationships and data of each individual, with citations for virtually every piece of data. We also provide an Affidavit of Diligent Search for Kinship with every report, at no additional cost, should legal proceedings become necessary.
As a probate research firm, our forensic genealogists are experienced at providing expert genealogical research, analysis and reporting for legal proceedings involving kinship. If you need help identifying potential heirs, please contact us and we can help evaluate your specific circumstances and identify how we can be of assistance.