7. WARNING: Rogue Heir Hunters

Does your Heir Hunter offer advice for ALL eventualities?

As you’ve seen in our previous blog article, “What an heir hunter should do with your data”, researching family history can lead to unexpected and surprising revelations such as unknown, or long lost next of kin. Therefore, it is not always possible to know with complete certainty if all the rightful heirs to an estate are accounted for; which highlights the possibility that beneficiaries may emerge to make a claim after an estate is distributed, causing the administrator of the estate significant legal problems and a potential financial liability.

We don’t need to look far for examples, read the case of Paul Ward below, which we featured here: https://www.celticresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/Telegraph-co-uk-money-special-reports-lost-27k-inheritance.pdf)

Because of unforeseeable eventualities, like an unknown heir emerging, it is good practice for probate genealogists and solicitors to inform the Administrator of an estate about insurance cover.

In our first blog article “Spot which heir hunters are working in your interests” of our Rogue Heir Hunters series, we suggested you check that

  • The heir hunter has indemnity insurance
  • The estate is insured against any claims.


Some Administrators see an indemnity policy as an unnecessary cost, but considering the financial liability and stress they could suffer if the beneficiaries have spent their entitlements, a modest insurance premium becomes a prudent safeguard. Mr. Ward’s case demonstrates why we ensure our clients are prepared for the worst-case scenario.

If Mr. Ward’s claim to the estate will be approved legally, the administrator is likely to having to pay him the full value of the estate plus having to cover additional fees and charges. Had they been covered by Missing Beneficiary Insurance they could have paid the insurance from the estate as an expense.

To protect yourself from such unpredictable situations we always advise to get Missing Beneficiary Insurance (MBI) or/and Missing Will Insurance (MWI).

Here’s what they cover:

  • MWI: Missing Will Insurance protects against an unknown (or unfound) Will/Testament appearing after distribution; covering costs, damages and compensation in the event that a new distribution takes place.
  • MBI: Missing Beneficiary Insurance offers protection for the Administrator or Executor should an unknown or missing beneficiary surface and claim against the estate after distribution. It covers the value of the estate -in part or in full- at the date of distribution and can include an escalator clause to cover any potential interest accrued.

What you will have to pay will vary, depending on the value of the deceased’s estate. We will provide the insurer with a copy of our genealogist report and family tree(s), plus any other information which may be relevant to the enquiry.

As your Heir Hunter, we would assist you with finding an insurance policy and can help you obtain competitive rates.

Prevention is key – therefore stay tuned for Celtic Research’s upcoming articles with more specialist advice. Get in touch if you have more questions!

Blog by Manuela Willbold