Court ruling against prominent "heir hunter"

Our response

In November 2018 there was extensive press coverage of the Central London County Court ruling against an established probate genealogist.

Hoopers do not condone or endorse the working practices detailed in these reports, which in no way reflect our own long-established methodology. To ensure transparency and fairness, best practice is generally considered to be for a blood relation to be appointed as Administrator of an intestate estate.

We always advocate instructing an independent impartial solicitor to administer any estates with which we are involved. The Solicitors Regulation Authority ensures that the estate is dealt with correctly. Several other probate genealogy companies are now known to administer estates internally - this can lead to serious conflicts of interest and abuse of trust.

For this reason, we would urge extreme caution if a firm of genealogists asks a beneficiary to sign a Limited Power of Attorney. This is not a standard or necessary procedure when dealing with the vast majority of unclaimed estates in the United Kingdom, and should only be employed when an heir lacks capability and no individual or organisation has been legally empowered to handle their affairs.

If you have any concerns about the issues raised by these reports, please contact us.

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