Probate genealogists are tasked, most often by notaires, with locating heirs or confirming descendants in the course of complex succession procedures. Other professionals may also solicit them to find assigns.
CONFIRMING AND CERTIFYING UNCERTAIN DEVOLUTIONS OF ESTATE
Confirmation of heirs is an activity in its own right of our Firm.
In cases in which the deceased left no will, or when heirs cannot gather sufficient documents to prove there is no forgotten assign, the probate genealogist is responsible for confirming the descendants.
Our genealogists ensure that all heirs appear on the genealogical chart. They can then certify the descendants.
IDENTIFYING AND LOCALIZING RIGHTFUL HEIRS
Notaires will request a search for heirs when they do not know the heirs or know only some of them, or when there are uncertainties regarding the existence of certain heirs.
Our genealogists reconstruct the family tree in its legal reality, to find the full list of heirs. The issue is not merely to locate all the heirs: the investigation also allows the notaire to establish the notarial deed, to which our genealogical chart will be appended. Our lawyers, having been appointed, will then be able to defend the interests of the located heirs.
They will legally represent them during the settlement of the estate.
FINDING BENEFICIARIES OF UNCLAIMED LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES
We intervene to find the beneficiaries of life-insurance policies. Sometimes, the beneficiary clause is vague, or the identity and/or address of the beneficiary(ies) is unknown.
Our teams are responsible for locating them and providing legal proof that these people are, indeed, the ones with a legitimate claim to the funds.
TRACING BANK ACCOUNT HOLDERS OR THEIR BENEFICIARIES
We look for heirs or assigns of inactive accounts. Inactive accounts include bank accounts, passbooks and share-savings plans for which no movement has been recorded for 12 months. This period is extended to 5 years for securities accounts, passbook accounts, regulated savings products, savings certificates and term deposits, and to 10 years for safety deposit boxes.
Our teams are responsible for locating the beneficiaries and providing legal proof that these people are, indeed, the ones with a legitimate claim to the funds.
SEARCHING FOR PROPERTY HEIRS
We look for heirs or assigns of property presumed to be unowned.
When an estate has been administered for more than thirty years and no heir has come forth, or when real-estate properties have no known owner and the property tax has not been paid for more than three years, a probate genealogist is tasked with locating the assigns.
Thanks to documents such as cadastres and mortgages, archive plans and files, and real-estate databases, our genealogists find old property titles and, thereafter, the heir to said property.
CLAIMING PROPERTY OR ASSETS ON BEHALF OF DESPOILED FAMILIES
We intervene to identify the heirs of works of art looted between 1933 and 1945.
Under the legislation established by the Nazi regime – or, in France, the Vichy regime – many cultural assets were looted, stolen, forcefully sold or confiscated. These days, such assets may be found in the possession of private individuals or public institutions.
Thanks to our investigations, identified objects located in museums and public libraries are returned to their rightful owners.