• checklist

    Probate Genealogy – notes to help you get it right from the start

    When approaching anyone to provide a specialist service, it can be difficult to be sure you’re getting the best person for the job. The last thing you want is to realise that you’ve employed the wrong person once it’s too late. In this article I’m going to suggest some useful questions to ask when instructing a genealogist to give you the best chance of a successful outcome.


  • gill-steel

    No knight in shining armour for trust agents in distress

    Those of you acting as agents for trustees will have had a horrid time. Never mind the usual scramble to get your Trusts & Estates Tax Returns for 2016/17 in to HMRC by 31 January 2018 and pay any tax, you have had to grapple with the Trust Registration Service (TRS).


  • featured-document-search

    Featured Service: Document Search

    In this edition's "Featured Service" section Matthew Moore explains why our Document Search service is great for file hygiene and can help practitioners manage risk.


  • claire-langford

    Client service – one of the reasons I come to work…

    When our clients ask us to deal with tricky missing beneficiary problems, it’s very important to me that they know they’re in good hands. I know they’ll often have a lay PR client in the background, possibly anxious about their responsibility and, perhaps, other beneficiaries waiting for their distribution. Maybe there’s a charitable residuary beneficiary looking for a swift outcome at a great price and possibly our client would like a case finished by a particular time.


  • nick-beetham

    How much?? Nick Beetham looks at our approach to costs…

    Before instructing us, you’ll probably want to know what our fees are going to be. It’s hard to predict the ultimate outcome of a missing beneficiary case but we work hard to give as accurate a forecast as possible. Between us we’ve more than 50 years’ experience in the industry and this combined with our knowledge of previous similar-fact cases means we’re usually in the ballpark!


  • Case study: Peter’s Family

    Lauren Taylor-Crowhurst of Actons solicitors in Nottingham approached us with Peter Gibson’s intestacy. Lauren was interested in administering Peter’s estate – could we help?


  • Case study: “A Great Job”

    Gina Westbrook of Ellisons in Clacton-on-Sea was administering the estate of Katie Peel, who’d left a gift to her nephew Charles.


  • Case study: A Case of Mistaken Identity?

    Alison McCormick of GA Solicitors in Plymouth asked us for help with the estate of Rose Denham (née Brown). Rose had left a gift to a niece, Susan Brown.


  • Case study: “Quick and within budget”

    John Palmer of Nottingham-based QualitySolicitors Yates & Co contacted us regarding Martyn Jackson’s intestacy. Martyn’s next of kin was in the class of his siblings and he was thought to have come from a large family...


  • Thomas Dumont of Radcliffe Chambers

    A Turkey Twizzler – An article by Thomas Dumont of Radcliffe Chambers

    Seven years ago the man who had put more turkeys on the UK’s Christmas tables than anyone else in history, died. Yet it was Bernard Matthews’ own affairs which turned out to be trussed up on his death.


  • Case study: Missing Legatees

    Samantha Thompson of Cleaver Thompson came to us with the estate of an elderly gentleman who had died late last year having remember a large number of distant family and old friends in his Will.


  • Case study: Godson Found “by magic”

    Katie Robertshaw of Nelsons Solicitors came to us with what looked like a potentially tricky missing legatee matter. The Testator had remembered a godson, still a minor, in his Will but the legatee’s current whereabouts were unknown.


  • Case study: Long Lost Cousin

    Paul Solomons of Solomons Solicitors referred a matter to us having been approached by a neighbour of the Deceased, Helen Sweet (not her real name), who had recently died without having made a Will and with no known family. Information indicated that Miss Sweet was a spinster without children and an only child but there was rumoured to be a “long lost” cousin.


  • Case study: Tricky Intestacy

    Des Humberston of Ward Gethin Archer came to us earlier this year with the estate of Iris Mary Reynolds who had died intestate, without any immediate family. Des had been contacted by Miss Reynolds’ first cousin, Doris, the only child of a predeceasing maternal aunt. Doris was fairly certain that her side of the family comprised one uncle who had two children and one who died in infancy. However, she knew absolutely nothing about Miss Reynolds’ father’s family.


  • holding-hands

    Why I am a great fan of Statutory Wills – An article by Denzil Lush

    I was the Master of the Court of Protection from 1996 to 2007 and the Senior Judge of the court from 2007 until I retired in 2016. During those twenty years I made over 400 orders authorising the creation of a statutory will.


  • jigsaw

    How we solve your problem cases

    In general, trust and estate practitioners tend not to come across missing beneficiary and related situations often enough to develop a sound in-house expertise and so tend to outsource them to experts. Nick Beetham looks at the anatomy of a typical missing beneficiary case.


  • transparent

    Moore Probate Research: leading the way in transparent fees

    Our clients come to us for help locating missing beneficiaries. They need to find them as quickly, and as cost effectively, as possible. At Moore Probate Research, we are absolutely committed to delivering value for money and our clients tell us we stand out for cost effectiveness and client service. Our standard hourly rate is £80.00 plus VAT. To reach a fee quote for a given case, we think of cases in terms of hours – how many hours do we need to finalise this matter?


  • Case study: Missing Legatee in Kathmandu

    Sheila Jones of Morrisons Solicitors’ Camberley office ( was administering the estate of Robin Perryman. By his will, Robin had left a gift to a former colleague, a Nepalese national, with whom Robin had worked in his local library. The will gave an address close to Kathmandu.


  • Case study: Prior Claimants Discovered – Incorrect Distribution Averted

    Lucy Butterfint of the Beverley, East Yorkshire branch of Wilkin Chapman solicitors came to us with an interesting problem: Frank Foster had died intestate and without leaving surviving spouse, issue, parent or whole blood sibling. Lucy was in touch with some of Frank’s paternal cousins, who were thought eligible to apply for letters of administration to Frank’s estate, and would also need to locate the maternal family. However, there was a question mark over Frank’s paternity – his birth certificate named someone other than Frank’s mother’s husband as his father.


  • Case study: Missing Grandchildren Located

    Jane Flaherty of Newquay firm Greenways Law wrote to us regarding the estate of Philip Kerr. Philip had left part of his residuary estate to “such of my grandchildren as shall reach the age of eighteen and if more than one in equal shares.” Jane knew that Philip had had one son, James, from whom he had been estranged for decades but, beyond that, the position was not clear.


  • Case study: Missing Mentees

    Shaun Parry-Jones of Guildford firm Lynn Murray was dealing with the estate of Geoffrey Sims on behalf of the executor, Geoffrey’s elderly neighbour. Geoffrey’s career had seen him mentor a good number of young people through some very challenging periods in their own lives and he had chosen to remember some of them in his will.


  • summer-newsletter

    Summer newsletter 2017

    I am delighted to announce the arrival of two key members of staff. April 2017 saw Claire Langford and Nick Beetham joining the business. Claire and Nick are both hugely experienced professionals with more than 30 years in the industry between them and I’m delighted to have them on board at Moore Probate Research


  • How Bona vacantia estates can turn into new business

    How Bona vacantia estates can turn into new business

    Despite the best efforts of private client practitioners throughout the country, there seems to be a hardcore of the population who resolutely insist on dying intestate. In some cases, as well as having left no valid will, there appears to be no evidence of entitled family to instruct you in the administration of the estate. Nick Beetham of Moore Probate Research shows how to acquire the instructions and take advantage of the commercial opportunity these estates present.


  • What-your-probate-genealogist-can-do-for-you

    What your probate genealogist can do for you

    Probate genealogists are widely regarded as a go-to resource to locate missing beneficiaries. Nick Beetham of Moore Probate Research looks at a handful of cases where trust and estate practitioners needed specialist help to identify and locate beneficiaries, new clients and other relevant people.


  • apples-and-oranges

    Christmas Newsletter 2016

    I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to you all for your support in 2016. It’s been another great year in which we’ve continued to grow and provide more and more clients with a first rate service and great value for money. We’ve resolved hundreds of cases ranging from locating one missing legatee to large, sprawling intestacies to complex old Trust matters revived by the death of a Life Tenant etc. We’ve found over 2,000 beneficiaries, all of whom received their full entitlement because we do not take a percentage of their share.


  • apples-and-oranges

    Apples and Oranges – a guide to comparing quotes from rival genealogy firms

    If you ever find yourself with a problem requiring a genealogist, you’d be quite right to seek two or more quotes. Let’s assume that all the firms you’ve approached respond quickly and professionally.  And that they all demonstrate the expertise and resources required to complete the task, they all have a track record and relationships with specialist insurers and they all have Professional Indemnity Insurance etc.


  • Recent developments in the administration of estates

    We all know that anything and everything relating to tax rules presents a ‘moving target’, that new legislation and procedures are implemented on a regular basis, year in year out. This article highlights a couple of the recent developments relating to the administration of estates.


  • Peace-of-mind-for-problem-estates

    Peace of mind for problem estates

    An integral part of providing a great service as genealogists is to provide regular updates to our clients, and as such we always aim to update them before they need to ask us. This is particularly important when dealing with the kind of sprawling intestacy matters that can take a few months rather than a few weeks to resolve.


  • Canadian-Bankruptcy-Searches

    Canadian Bankruptcy Searches

    Searching for Canadian Bankruptcy records is a straightforward process thanks to a centralised website which is both easy to use and searchable from anywhere in the world. As long as you have the individual’s name you can carry out the search in minutes, for a fee of CAD $8 per search, and if you have a date of birth you can include that to refine your search significantly.


  • Australian-Bankruptcy-Searches

    Australian Bankruptcy Searches

    While it may sound like a potentially complicated process, searching for an Australian bankruptcy is in fact a very straightforward and inexpensive one which you can carry out quickly and easily for yourself. While some genealogists will charge eye-watering sums for this service, in truth these particular records are extremely simple to search and openly available online. As long as you have a name and date of birth the whole search can be carried out in a matter of minutes.


  • missing-links

    Missing Links

    Sometimes we’re presented with a case where a missing legatee has upped and left without a trace, and there’s no one left who can tell us where they went. In a couple of recent cases, to ensure our clients can close their file, and the entitled person doesn’t miss out on their legacy, we’ve had to go somewhat off-piste in our efforts to locate them. Happily, in both cases, our lateral thinking paid off.


  • personal-touch

    The Personal Touch

    In the usual run of events, the sort of research we carry out as probate genealogists is done using birth, marriage and death indexes, census returns and a range of other in-house and centralised databases, but occasionally we have to delve into more personal archives to unlock a case.


  • good-to-talk

    In probate genealogy it’s good to talk

    When it comes to working on a case there are three primary means by which we, as professional probate genealogists, go about ensuring that we’ve located all of the entitled parties: archival research, documentation and conversation. All three are vitally important to making sure we’ve left no stone unturned and no beneficiary disinherited.


  • mpr-quality

    It’s not just genealogy, it’s what you do with it…

    At Moore Probate Research we know that genealogy for its own sake is the stuff of hobbyists. We are in the business of helping our clients close their problem files and we use genealogy – and our associated knowledge and experience – to help them do so.


  • Intestacy-101

    Intestacy 101

    As a professional probate genealogist, I spend my working life dealing with complex intestacies. While no legal expert, I am often contacted by clients wanting to pick my brain and it occurred to me that a ‘back to basics’ article might be helpful. This article is intended really for those legal practitioners who only come across these kinds of estates once in a blue moon as a pared-back introduction to the nuts and bolts of estate distribution. By way of example, I'm going to look at the family tree of the late John Smith.


  • the-scrimpers-guide

    Instructing a genealogist – the scrimpers’ guide

    More so than ever, lay clients are cost conscious but don't want to compromise on service or quality. In this guide, I'll look at ways you can get the most out of your money when employing a genealogist to locate a missing legatee or trace heirs entitled on intestacy.


  • complicated-cases

    Case Study: Complicated cases

    Complicated cases can sit on your desk for years. We can help.


  • rainmaker

    Case Study: Rainmaker

    Rainmaker is our alternative to contingency. It enables you to retain control of an estate and the commercial opportunity it represents when there is an intestacy but no known kin.


  • insurance

    The lowdown on: missing beneficiary indemnity insurance

    In this article I’m going to talk about missing beneficiary indemnity insurance (mbii); what it’s for, and when it is and isn’t an option.


  • price-capping

    Our fees are capped, not fixed

    Our fees are capped, not fixed. Don’t pay more than you need to for tracing missing legatees.


  • guide

    An insider’s guide to genealogy fees

    In this article I'm going to look at the various fee structures employed by probate genealogists and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. I'll also try to explain why genealogists can sometimes be rather too vague for your liking about costs.


  • whispers

    Beware Chinese whispers – The perils of amateur genealogy

    As a professional probate genealogist, I’m always advising clients to be wary about what they are told by the family involved in an intestacy case (well I would do, wouldn't I?). There are two main reasons why probate lawyers are wrongfooted by information given by the family.