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Heir Hunters

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Susan10146857 Report 23 Dec 2012 07:11

What I can't understand is that, in my experience, no one came knocking on our door to ask permission to go ahead with research. On Heir Hunters they are always working against the clock to sign up clients.

In my experience, houses are sold without the knowledge of all concerned. The first to be contacted has taken over as the one to make decisions. Documents and photographs are disposed of without the knowledge of descendents.

A Son in Law phoned one solicitor to be told not to worry about signing because his sister has signed with them. Surely that would be illegal.

 Sue In Yorkshire.

Sue In Yorkshire. Report 23 Dec 2012 08:46


I would think that he would need to sign as well as his sister.

He could ring CAB for advice in this problem or an independant solicitor..

Hope he gets it sorted soon.


AnnCardiff Report 23 Dec 2012 09:21

not all the heirs have to sign with a particular company - say there were five people entitled to share the inheritance, some of them might choose not to use a firm to help in their claim, they could go it alone if they wish, or they could sign with a different company - whatever they choose to do, they will all get their share if they put in a claim, but those who choose to have an heir hunting company act on their behalf would have to pay a percentage of their share to that company


ChrisofWessex Report 23 Dec 2012 09:25

I often wondered what percentage they take?


patchem Report 23 Dec 2012 09:30

A lot:


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 23 Dec 2012 09:39

It seems strange that his sister could legally sign him up without his consent, but I can understand that the property might be cleared and sold before heirs have been found.

The Crown isn't going to want to be responsible for the upkeep of an empty property for 30 years if they aren't going to ultimately benefit. There is nothing to stop any of us researching someone elses family without permission.

Father in law was contacted by a Probate reseach company a few years ago. Recently I googled the Deceased's name and found an entry in the London Gazette placed by one of his cousins (through a local solicitor) asking for 'anyone with an interest' to contact them. Presumably the cousin had decided to go alone.


AnnCardiff Report 23 Dec 2012 09:42

it must be a fair percentage when you look at the premises of the BBC heir hunters and the numbr of people they employ


JackBunion Report 23 Dec 2012 09:59

I love watching Heirhunters. I particularly like Lord and Lady Teviot - what a team. "Will you ring Lichfield Record Office, dear" "Yessssss, on my list". "When? - sometime this weeek, please" I like the fact that they seem to care about the family issues they unravel.

I hope I am not too contentious here, but I think a lot of it is cynical and profiteering. If I see that pompous young chap from Celtic research and the Operations Director of Frazer & Frazer saying "this money does not belong to the Government" once again, I will need a new TV :-0 :-(

If somebody cannot be bothered to write a will, then most times it is because they cannot think of anybody to leave it to. Probably most of them could not care less if it falls in the coffers of Bona Vacantia (which sounds like a holiday firm to me). :-D :-D

Rambling Rose

Rambling Rose Report 23 Dec 2012 11:13

John I know a few people who have not written a will, and overwhelmingly the reason given is that it would seem like 'tempting fate', none of them would want the money to go to the government, they just feel that making a will is an acknowledgement that they are going to die, a 'nod to death' that they are ready if you like.


JackBunion Report 23 Dec 2012 11:26

Rose. I only wrote my proper will last year, for the reasons you give and also thought I was broke. And it would go to OH anyway who is 7 years younger than me and equally well. When solicitor tallied it all up and it was well into 6 figures, I realised I would leave a "fortune".:-D :-D

Many of those on Heirhunters did not even know they had a distant aunt or uncle. Neither did the late aunt or uncle realise they had any close family. Or if they did, they had no time for each other.

Those who have died have no need fo the money after death, obviously. But the Government does, and unless a close relative tries to get probate I think the money should become ours ie the Government's.

Something deeply wrong with large companies in Tottenham Court Road or other posh premises grubbing round and phoning old people at 7am and then belting down the M4 to get signatures imho.


DazedConfused Report 23 Dec 2012 11:44

Heir Hunters firm Frazer & Frazer has been going for many years hence the size of the firm and the premises. Most are small 'family' type businesses.

The larger firms which have been running for donkeys years started in the Probate business long before 'researching ones family history' became so popular.

Look up Frazer & Frazer on the net and see their history.

Probate researchers will charge a fee and that can vary in amounts from firm to firm. Some are very reasonable and then there are some real shyters out there.


Robert Report 23 Dec 2012 14:13

quote from the rightous one "Those who have died have no need fo the money after death, obviously. But the Government does, and unless a close relative tries to get probate I think the money should become ours ie the Government's."

People work hard for there money, you are tax from the moment you are are born to the moment you die, and then they tax your easte when you are dead.............. dont you think the goverment have taken enough from you.... i work for the benefit of my family


Kay???? Report 23 Dec 2012 14:29

The average % is 20-40.

Thats why they sift the addresses and area of any property involved, ;-).

Some time ago,,,,,,a man brought onto local news,,,,the estate was lots of figures,,,,,,he ended up with about £800,,,,,,,,!

Its easy to go it alone,,,,,,but there will be fees to pay anyway to the lawyer.......


Elizabeth2469049 Report 23 Dec 2012 15:08

I think John is wrong - I think if you haven't made a will your children also have a claim though the OH has some entitlement. Where it can get nasty is when the children of a first marriage have a claim which can considerably reduce the amount available for the later partner and their children.

I'm not a lawyer, but speaking from memory


JackBunion Report 23 Dec 2012 16:53

Robert. Thanks for compliment, but am far from being a righteous one. A religious one, but not the same unfortunately. Am not sure what the legalities are if you die intestate - my dad died aged 60 with no will and, although it took my mum about 18 months, she got 100% of his estate if I remember correctly.

But if someone dies, and his next door neighbour who had looked after him for last 20 years cannot get his money and property, why should a blood relative who has never known of his existence get that money.

I have been thinking of a solution to all this today. Why not insist everyone writes a will at 2 points in their life:
1. When they marry or enter a civil partnership. Include it with costs of the certificate, get a will drawn up and it can be signed with the register with witnesses.
2. When they draw OAP. No valid will, pension is deferred. Money for basic will writing could come out of unclaimed Bona Vacantia monies.


Maryanna Report 23 Dec 2012 17:01

I had two phone calls about fifteen months ago. One from a small firm up North and the other from Frazer and Frazer, in fact one of the chaps who is shown regularly " on the road".

Neither of them visited and my sister and I decided to go for the smaller firm as they charged the same as Frazers 15% but no VAT. We could, perhaps,have put in a claim ourselves as I have most of the relevant certificates but I think we would have still needed a solicitor to work on our behalf.

When I see them on the TV, chasing people about and knocking on doors,for a £20,000 estate, I chuckle to myself. This estate is worth the best part of £500,000 and we saw nobody, they haven't even asked us for proof of identity apart from me sharing my GR tree with them.

The saddest part is that I hadn't taken my tree as far as this person, so had no idea of his existence which I find an awful shame. He lived in a very nice house just a short walk from our youngest son, in London.

I have asked if there are any photos or documents and have been told there is nothing. There must have been something. They also will not tell us who sold the house and disposed of belongings etc. I am not after the family silver or jewellery but a photo of our great gran or family would have been nice. I would just like to know where it al went.

I don't know if at some time we will be given the names of the other beneficiaries, it would be nice to know who our distant cousins are. We also have no idea of how much our share will be, although everything is due to be finalised in the New Year.

Money for old rope, I think. M


jax Report 23 Dec 2012 17:21

I remember watching one where a lady had died but had no children , but had married a widdower in the 1940s and had bought up his two young sons as her own.

She died after her husband and left no will.......the two sons got nothing and her house and any money went to some distant cousins who had never met her...the sons were angry to say the least


JackBunion Report 23 Dec 2012 17:28

Jax. I remember that programme as well. And many others. It is a favourite programme of mine but I do feel as if I am watching a load of retired poice officers on big pensions speeding round the country in some sort of grotesque charade.

"How sad he never spoke to his late brother who lived a mile away from him for last 60 years. But at least I've got his signature on my piece of paper. Must phone Neil and tell him.......". Licks lips in anticipation.

I would like to see the Lord and Lady Teviot show replace Heir Hunters :-D :-D. Todays version of Johnny and Fanny Craddock ;-)


Robert Report 12 Feb 2014 17:34

I know this thread is over 12 months old but I thought i would reply anyway. The percentages charged by Heir hunting firms is on average between 10% and 30% depending on the work the company has had to do. Remember they have no idea of the true value of estates and could end up working for a loss.

As Anncardiff says no one has to sign with a probate genealogy company however before they are paid out they will have to provide the same level of proof of descent as the HH company as to provide to the treasury to the HH company. This could therefore be more than the share that person is entitled to so they would end up out of pocket.

The only way a HH company would accept the signature of someone other than the heir is if that person had a Lasting Power of Attorney in place and active for the heir. They would also have to prove this. After all it is a legally binding contract.

Just so you are aware I know what I am talking about I happen to run one of the many HH companies out there