Every year millions of people die worldwide without making a will (called dying intestate) often leaving substantial cash and property estates which, if not claimed goes to the state. Worth billions this provides vast income opportunities for people interested in tracing missing beneficiaries to these valuable estates.
Unlike traditional genealogy which traces family lines into the distant past Heir Tracing is seeking living descendant relatives who often have lost touch with their distant kin and in most cases have no idea of their family link.
In many cases there is no obvious heir who will inherit the estate under the rules of intestacy, so clearly there is a need to trace and tell the family members they are in for a windfall. Not only does this news come as a pleasant financial surprise but also unlocks family history and knowledge which proves valuable and interesting to many beneficiaries.
Made popular by the BBC's Heir Hunters program estate beneficiaries are located by probate researchers, or more commonly known after the name "Heir Hunters". A large number of estates remain untraced, in fact the number of new cases being filed weekly means there is plenty of work, provided you know how to find and work on cases.