Heir Location

Heir Location

While most people die in the company of family or friends, many live in isolation, have no close family members, or have simply lost touch with their relatives. Throughout the years, many families have been separated by geography, by war or simply drifted apart. When someone dies without leaving a valid will, there are intestate succession laws that clearly define the order of entitlement amongst blood relatives.  In these situations, the decedent’s estate may be opened by individuals who have limited knowledge of the decedent’s extended family and lack the expertise and skills necessary to locate the next-of-kin.

American Research Bureau (ARB) has specialized in identifying and locating heirs and proving their right to an inheritance for over 80 years.  Before we contact anyone, extensive genealogical research is conducted to determine the relationship to the decedent and that the person(s) identified is in fact a legitimate heir. We never contact anyone unless we are confident the individuals we identify are true rightful heirs.

Inheritance laws vary enormously from one country to another, and in the United States, they also differ from state to state.  By law, all reasonable steps must be taken by the estate trustee to find and locate all missing or unknown heirs before estate assets can be distributed. If an heir or beneficiary misses out on an inheritance because inadequate measures were made to identify and locate them, the estate trustee is subject to personal liability. Therefore, the expertise of a reputable probate research firm to identify and locate any unknown or missing heirs is often required.

Receiving news about a potential unexpected windfall can be a pleasant surprise. Every year billions of dollars are forfeited to the government as unclaimed property because the whereabouts of the rightful heirs or beneficiaries cannot be found. Through our efforts, millions of dollars have been distributed to the rightful heirs which otherwise would have become property of the state.

Our complete services includes the following features:

  • Identify estates with unclaimed assets or missing/unknown heirs
  • Identify, locate and document all potential missing/unknown heirs
  • Verify and authenticate the relationship of all heirs to the decedent
  • Compile genealogical charts and court ready documentation
  • Obtain and translate foreign documents
  • Prepare Affidavits of Due Diligence for court purposes
  • Provide expert witness testimony in court proceedings
  • Advance payment of all fees and expenses
  • Facilitate prompt distribution of estate assets


We stand behind our research and heir location services with a 100% risk-free guarantee.  Once we have undertaken the research, we typically enter into a contingency agreement with each heir we locate, whereby the heir agrees to compensate ARB a percentage of their portion when assets from the estate are distributed.  Our fees are based on upon successful results when the estate distributes so we don’t get paid until you do.  This contingency fee arrangement places the entire risk, liability and burden of proof on us.  Our clients bear zero risk and no financial burden during the entire recovery process.

Our experience, starting with the research phase that goes into each case through to the decision making that takes place, gives us the expertise to provide the best possible service and recovery for our clients.  Give us a call and let us help you establish your inheritance rights.  Contact Us