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Heir Hunting

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Karen Report 12 Apr 2013 21:35

Please help, I am having a go at heir hunting, but keep hitting a brick wall even at first base. Names I have do not appear in the deaths section, so I'm finding I cannot go any further, very frustrating !!!!! what can I do??? :-S

Gwyn in Kent

Gwyn in Kent Report 12 Apr 2013 21:39

Do you mean heir hunters for strangers ie. no connection to yourself?

If so and they are recent deaths, they are not generally on registered sites until several years later.


Tenerife Sun

Tenerife Sun Report 12 Apr 2013 21:57

Bona Vacantia has lists of people who died without leaving a will.


Karen Report 12 Apr 2013 22:00

Thanks Gwyn, yes I mean of no relation between 1997 and 2012, if the later don't show up how can I go about tracing them???


Jonesey Report 12 Apr 2013 22:17

In England and Wales the BMD indexes effectively cease to be online after the entries in 2005 although I believe FMP does have some from 2006. After that the indexes up to last completed quarter of the current year are available to view only in certain locations around the country, usually in the central libraries in major cities such as Birmingham and Manchester.

As the Bona Vacantia list gives the year of death and location in order to gain any benefit you need a copy of the death certificate, not just the entry in the index. Copy certificates can be obtained from the registry office for the district where the person died.


Reggie Report 12 Apr 2013 23:08

You'll have to spend money on will you recover it?


Karen Report 13 Apr 2013 17:25

Thanks Guys, hopefully I can recover the money spent on certs when I complete a case, and I will then hand those certs to the families involved

Gwyn in Kent

Gwyn in Kent Report 13 Apr 2013 18:08

It is very interesting work and I wish you luck, but how will you know whether or not you will be working on a case which competitors have already been researching and might have signed heirs before you?

You will only get your money back if you get there first........



DazedConfused Report 13 Apr 2013 20:35

And as we have seen in Heir Hunters even the biggest firms with lots of researchers often lose out to other companies.

You will be running this as a business (and the taxman will say that is what it is) and as such will have to declare your earnings etc.

So from your earnings you will have to divide your earnings into 3 parts

1: for the taxman
2: to reinvest back into the business for more certs, equipment, business rates (running a business from your home will affect your council tax) and insurance (you will need public liability), phone calls etc., there are more hidden costs but will not go on any more.
3: Your wages.

Genealogy may be a very good hobby and a great deal of fun, but to start doing it as a job, you might not find it quite so cosy.

Sorry to sound so down on you, but it is a cut throat world out there and you will get no lee-way from others in the business.

How hard have you looked into taking this up as a Job/Business set-up?

Tenerife Sun

Tenerife Sun Report 13 Apr 2013 20:40

I have justed looked at the Bona Vacatia site. It used to be so easy to navigate with people listed in alphabetical order. The new site seems to be a nightmare to follow with info on downloaded XL sheets


Andysmum Report 13 Apr 2013 22:32

I have just had a look and it is still in alphabetical order, and the earliest ones seem to be 1992.

For a professional heir hunter the main problem would be deciding which ones are worth investigating. All we are told is that they are all over £500, and you could spend that easily if you have to drive all over the place finding heirs.

Good luck.

Tenerife Sun

Tenerife Sun Report 14 Apr 2013 07:57

Andysmum. It's not how it was is ir? Or am I missing something? Before you had the alphabet and you selected the initial of the surname you were looking for. It was also easier and more clear to read



Reggie Report 14 Apr 2013 08:58


I hope you do some careful costing before you embark on this venture.

And take time to look at how difficult it can be even for the established firms whose resources are considerable, and who have years of experience in this field.

The programme on TV shows mostly their successes...........for each of those, there must be countless failures, a story which is repeated many times - once for each company involved in this pursuit.

If you are determined to try this - set aside a sum of money you can afford to lose........and once it's a halt


Jonesey Report 14 Apr 2013 09:00

Just for the record the minimum value of an estate appearing on the Bona Vacantia list is actually £5,000.

The equivalent list produced in Scotland, the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Rememberancer (QLTR), does not I believe have a minimum estate value and unlike the Bona Vacantia list it shows the value of the deceased's unclaimed estate. The QLTR also gives a great deal more information about the deceased including their date and place of birth (If known), their last known address and the date and place where they died.



Andysmum Report 14 Apr 2013 10:12

Tenerife Sun, I don't look at it very often, so I don't really know whether it has changed. The alphabetical list (under unclaimed estates in PDF format) is the same as it was last time I looked, but I have never tried to find a specific name, so I can't remember seeing any way of searching - that doesn't mean there wasn't one!

Tenerife Sun

Tenerife Sun Report 14 Apr 2013 10:53

Thanks Andysmum. I'll have another look


Kay???? Report 14 Apr 2013 15:46

How are you going to get on the spot certificate information for 100% surety which is needed as proof.

Certificates @ £9-25 each can take 5--10 days by mail.if you're not in a location of the issuing office.

Plus you have already hit a major stumblng block in that all is not arm chair avaliable helpful information.
good luck.


DazedConfused Report 15 Apr 2013 15:04

What a shame Karen has not come back to this thread to see all the comments and offers of advice etc.

But as Kay???? has said in her last post - Karen hit a stumbling block on her first try... Maybe she has had 2nd thoughts. :-)


SylviaInCanada Report 16 Apr 2013 01:25

Plus, there is the fact that has been demonstrated on this site on several occasions ...................

people contacted by an heir hunter say "thank you very much, but I'm not interested" ..........

....................... then they trace the unclaimed money themselves.

Several GR members have been successful in this ....... and have thus saved the money asked / demanded by the Heir Hunter.


Jonesey Report 16 Apr 2013 11:37

There are many cautionary comments on this thread, all I am sure made with the best of intentions. It is worth remembering however that the tallest Oak tree began its life as a small acorn.

Heir hunting is most certainly not as easy as it is often portrayed to be in the television program of similar name. Presumably however someone at today's most well known firm of heir tracers must one day have taken the same decision that Karen has now taken. I.E. To give it a try.

The key to success for their smaller competitors appears to be to concentrate on older and possibly lesser value cases. Concentrate on cases were specific local knowledge or particular skills are likely to be needed. Such cases may not be considered viable by the larger firms but might produce returns considered sufficient for someone with much lower overheads.

Were I much younger I might well have considered doing what Karen has decided to do and given it a go, so good luck to her . My advice to her however is don't bet your entire future on it and don't give up the day job until you have proven that you can make a living chasing down heirs.