There are a lot of people doing missing heir research. Some do so ethically, some do not. If you are a genealogist reading this we define forensic genealogy as those cases where there are legal implications. It’s imperative you know your states laws regarding this work. Some states (Florida and Arizona) require you to have a private investigator’s license to look for living people. Some states aren’t clear whether you can do this work without that PI license. (Missouri comes to mind.) Check the state you are living to verify you are working within the laws of the state in which you live.
Typically I am hired by an attorney, fiduciary or a guardian. I charge by the hour regardless of the type of research I’m doing for my clients. Here is the link to my current rate sheet Rate Sheet through 2020
I work in 10-hour blocks of time. If your Person Representative (PR) has control of the estate funds I’ll request a retainer. If not I am willing to do this work with a signed contract in place to assure payment after the PR has control of funds.
Clients of Forensic Genealogists:
Most of my clients are attorneys but that I have worked with a lot of fiduciaries and guardians. My work is not state specific. I know the ins and outs of doing research in almost every state. I also have a large database of colleagues I have called on around the world. In this work, I have chased heirs across the United States to England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Australia and even South Korea. I have hired skilled researchers in far-flung places to find heirs for my cases. I am grateful for the number of repeat customers that keep coming back. Forensic genealogy is my passion and each case on my desk is important to me.
Where Can I Learn More:
How do you figure out whom to trust your cases to? I would encourage you to view these sites to see if the person you are considering hiring has a professional profile listed:
- Association of Professional Genealogists (APG):APG.
- Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) BCG
- International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen):ICapGen
If you have any questions I do hope you’ll contact me in the comments below or send me an email at: leslie@LawsonResearch.net .