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Resolution

An agreement between an heir hunter and an apparent heir, the primary purpose of which is to locate, recover or assist in the recovery of an estate for which the administrator has petitioned for letters of administration, is void and unenforceable if the agreement is entered into during the period beginning with the date a decedent’s estate is filed in probate court until 180 days [6 months] thereafter.

As used in this section, the term “heir hunter” is defined as a person or business entity who, for payment of a fee, assignment of a portion of any interest in a decedent’s estate or other consideration, provides information, assistance, forensic genealogy research or other efforts related to another person’s right to or interest in a decedent’s estate.

The term does not include:

(a) A person acting in the capacity of an administrator or personal representative or guardian ad litem; or
(b) A person appointed to perform services by a probate court in which a proceeding in connection with a decedent’s estate is pending; or
(c) A person or business entity who, has been authorized by an administrator or personal representative or guardian ad litem or person appointed to perform services by the probate court for payment of a fee, assignment of a portion of any interest in a decedent’s estate or other consideration, provides information, assistance, forensic genealogy research or other efforts related to another person’s right to or interest in a decedent’s estate.
(d) An attorney providing legal services to a decedent’s family member if the attorney has not agreed to pay to any other person or business entity a portion of the fees received from the family member or the family member’s interest in the decedent’s estate.

PUBLIC POLICY IMPLICATION of proposed legislative changes: Protective statute(s) designed to assist consumers.

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