Who are Probate Genealogists

Probate genealogists are experts who specialize in meticulously tracing and identifying rightful heirs and beneficiaries in probate cases. They are typically engaged by estate administrators or legal professionals to pinpoint individuals entitled to inherit from an estate, especially in cases where there is no will, limited information, or a need to verify beneficiaries. Utilizing diverse research techniques, probate genealogists work to establish family connections and track down missing heirs, ensuring that estates are distributed accurately and in accordance with legal requirements.

Probate genealogy, also known as heir hunting, is the process of tracing and identifying the heirs or beneficiaries of a deceased person’s estate. This field combines aspects of genealogy, law, and often historical research to locate individuals who are entitled to inherit assets or property under the terms of a will or, in cases of intestacy (dying without a will), according to the laws of succession.

Professionals in this field, known as probate genealogists, perform a variety of tasks, including:

  1. Researching Family Histories: Probate genealogists delve deep into historical records, constructing detailed family trees to identify potential heirs, showcasing their comprehensive research skills.
  2. Locating Missing Heirs: They track down heirs who might be unaware of their entitlement.
  3. Verifying Claims: With meticulous attention to detail, they ensure that claims to an estate are legitimate by cross-referencing birth, death, and marriage records, as well as other legal documents.
  4. Handling Intestate Estates: In the absence of a will, probate genealogists work with the court to determine the rightful heirs based on legal inheritance frameworks, ensuring a fair and just distribution of the estate.

Probate genealogists play a crucial role in ensuring that estates are distributed correctly and that rightful heirs receive their inheritance, thereby upholding justice. Given the complex and frequently cross-border nature of modern family structures, it often involves working with legal professionals, government agencies, and sometimes even international organisations.

Probate Genealogists