How Forensic Genealogy Can Help You
Forensic genealogy is not a commonly-known practice area. Most people do not know what a forensic genealogist does, if they’ve even heard of the profession. Forensic genealogists perform an important service for estate administrators and others in need of accurate pictures of heirship and genealogy. Read on for a discussion of the important functions of a forensic genealogist and how they can help you through the proper and efficient administration of probate. For experienced and effective assistance identifying the proper heirs to an estate, call a dedicated forensic genealogist.
Find Missing Heirs
The principal duties of an estate administrator are to pay off creditors and make sure that any remaining assets go to the appropriate parties. If there’s no last will and testament or other estate planning document controlling the distribution of assets, the estate will pass by way of probate in accordance with the state’s intestacy laws. The heirs of the decedent are entitled to their share of the estate based on state law. The first step in proper estate distribution is to locate and notify the parties entitled to an inheritance.
If the heirs to an estate are not readily apparent and self-identifying, you’ll need to conduct appropriate due diligence in order to track down the proper heirs. A forensic genealogist can work with all available sources of information to generate a genealogical map of the deceased, identifying all possible living heirs to the estate. The genealogist can help you track down any members of the family who are still living and determine which members are entitled to what share of the estate based on their familial connection. If no living heirs remain, the genealogical report will serve as evidence that you satisfied your duties and conducted proper due diligence in attempting to locate the legal heirs.
Validate Claims of Purported Heirs
In addition to finding heirs to an estate when none readily present themselves, a forensic genealogist can help ensure that the estate goes to the right parties. Self-proclaimed “relatives” with a purported claim to the estate might come out of the woodwork when an unclaimed estate sits for a period of time, especially if they are encouraged by so-called heir hunters. If you are the administrator of the estate, it’s your job to help distribute the assets of the estate to the appropriate parties.
A forensic genealogist can analyze and evaluate a purported relative’s claim to the estate and map their claimed relation to the decedent. The genealogist can confirm whether they have any actual reason to believe they are related, whether there were any mistakes or mix-ups with similar names or other easy errors, and ultimately determine whether their claim is valid. If they do have a valid claim, all the better. If their claim is fabricated, fraudulent, or simply mistaken, a forensic genealogist can give you the evidence you need to establish as much in court.
If you’re an estate administrator in need of experienced assistance identifying and locating missing heirs to an estate and for determination of heirship proceedings, or heir research services in order to satisfy due diligence requirements, contact the comprehensive and thorough forensic genealogists at Von Langen, LLC at 800-525-7722.