The Heir Hunters Will Find The Heirs Before We Can!
When we file an intestate estate in a probate court and our pleadings provide any indication that there are either no known heirs or heirs who are no more closely related than aunts, uncles or cousins then we should be aware that before we can find the heirs (or additional heirs) heir hunters will probably be able to find them first.
While we’re busy attending to our several responsibilities in a timely manner, such as arranging for notices to be published or served, meeting with interested parties and handling many other aspects of estate administration, including attempts to contact family members who could be heirs… That’s all the heir hunters are busying themselves with. Unless we prioritize accordingly and have heirs’ current contact information readily available, the heir hunters will probably find the heirs before we can. They are experienced in research techniques and with the use of search tools that can provide them with a certain advantage. What can we do?
Be proactive. If you have advance notice that an estate of concern is imminent, such as in a case where you have knowledge of a guardianship for a person who will eventually die intestate and without immediate family present, then it may be prudent to search for potential heirs sooner rather than later.
Expedite your search process by enlisting the aid of an expert search professional. Delay filing an estate for as long as possible (if possible). If after the estate has been filed, claims are put forth on behalf of alleged heirs, be aware that an expert may serve to either refute or validate those claimants’ interests or uncover the existence of additional heirs who may not otherwise be discovered.
Until such time as an Heir Law Resolution is in effect in your state, you’ll need to decide how best to buy yourself time on a case by case basis.
Remember, time is of the essence.