Heir hunters can now join a professional body to help raise standards and give councils and legal teams peace of mind in their dealings with these services.
Heir hunters, also known as probate genealogists, have suffered from bad press due to unscrupulous behaviour in the past, which this new association aims to stamp out.
The International Association of Professional Probate Researchers, Genealogists and Heir Hunters (IAPPR.ORG) has been founded by heir hunters Finders International.
While there are amateur associations for genealogists and for those tracing their family trees there has not, up until now, been an association for probate genealogists and the profession has been largely unregulated.
TV programmes have raised the profile of heir hunters but tend to focus on matching fortunes with long lost next of kin or relatives. However, councils also have to deal with heir hunters to help reclaim funeral expenses from estates.
Louise Lewis from solicitors Blake Morgan LLP said: ‘As a professional, I am regulated by an independent body. Regulation safeguards the public because it ensures that I have to meet a minimum standard of professional conduct and ethics. It provides peace of mind for those dealing with me.
‘Sadly, I have seen what can happen to clients who deal with unregulated service providers and how expensive and distressing it can be when things go wrong. I welcome Finders International voluntarily signing up to a Code of Conduct, confirming that they act in accordance with very high standards. It shows commitment to protecting their clients and to providing a sustained high quality of service.’
Daniel Curran spokesperson for the IAPPR, and founder of Finders, said: ‘I have been searching for a viable international and professional association for my company for years with no success.
‘The IAPPR will achieve worldwide attention and international support without a doubt – and the public and legal profession will stand to benefit enormously.’
Source material: ehn-online.com