Case Examples

Estate of Joyce A. Schaller

A sister of the decedent claimed to be the only heir. ARB investigated and found another sister. Because the sisters were from different mothers, the first sister absolutely rejected the claim of the ARB client. Although it took months to conduct the necessary court actions, have depositions taken, and locate all the documentation, ARB was able to succeed on behalf of the client who did receive her share of the estate.

Estate of Roza Mombar

ARB staff accompanied by Los Angeles authorities, conducted research and took depositions in England and Europe for this highly publicized estate. Ultimately, ARB clients were found to be entitled to inherit.

Estate of Karl Koepplinger

ARB was hired by the estate to conduct research in Germany to establish entitlement of heirs and to establish that some heirs had died without issue. ARB was selected because our fees were to be paid only after the court order was approved accepting our documentation and declarations. This assignment was successfully completed for the trust so that distribution could be made to the heirs.

Estate of Vinnia Hastings

ARB was hired to locate all living heirs. After searches were completed, ARB was able to provide the name, address and all court required documentation to establish that there was only one heir entitled to inherit the assets.

Estate of Edward Hagedorn

Initially no heirs were found to be entitled during the probate process. Assets of nearly $500,000 were escheated to the State of California. At least three research companies in addition to ARB filed claims for potential heirs. All were found not entitled during numerous court actions. A judge eventually ruled in favor of ARB’s clients.

Estate of Donald Taylor

A competitor was hired by the estate to search for an individual and was authorized to provide ten hours of research. The firm’s report of their ten hours of research was filed with the court. The report indicated the firm had not yet located the individual, and suggested “further areas of research,” presumably requiring additional fees.  ARB conducted independent research, found the missing individual, and provided an address to the estate. During our research we located a 1920 census record which the competitor searched for, but reported, “no record was located.” ARB also located a probate file about which the competitor reported, “no record was located.” ARB conducts accurate and comprehensive research to successfully and efficiently locate the correct heirs at law.

Estate of John Grosporean

ARB was contacted to locate a missing heir in the estate. During the courtesy search period, ARB was able to identify this person and locate the date and place of death. The information was returned to the estate at no charge. Missing heir searches (where data is available such as a name, last known address, or other identifying information) are very different than unknown heir searches. Depending on the information available, ARB is often able to complete this search at no charge to the estate or trust if the matter is referred to our office for courtesy searches.

Estate of Alcidie Dewantyne

ARB located the daughter of the decedent. She was homeless and destitute. After finding her, ARB worked with an attorney who represented her in an elder abuse case in which she was the victim. Eventually, ARB was able to provide the documentation to establish her identity (through several marriages, name changes and address changes) so that she received more than $100,000. She was able to get medical care and secure permanent housing.

Estate of Daisy M. Herzog

The Will of Daisy Herzog did not dispose of her estate as the only legatee, her husband, had previously died. ARB was able to locate 255 relatives each of whom received a portion of the estate. ARB’s attorneys helped our clients share in a distribution of more than a million dollars by successfully settling a will contest. A family tree was published and forwarded to each of the heirs.

Estate of Gertrude Zwedben

The decedent left many bank accounts, each with the name of another person who was to receive the account upon her death. Unfortunately, she did not list anything other than the names of these other relatives. The bank was able to identify only some of these heirs. A friend of the decedent contacted ARB and asked for our help. We were able to trace the genealogy of the decedent and thereby identify the relationship of the remaining persons. We then were able to complete the searches and locate the heirs who were able to claim the sizeable gifts left them by their distant relative.

Estate of Fred Seimer

ARB located all heirs in the estate and obtained contingent fee contracts from the heirs. Complete research was conducted in the U.S. and in Europe. There were no paternal heirs. ARB submitted the heirship findings to the court showing the maternal heirs, and documenting that there were no paternal heirs. A fee-based firm was hired by the estate. The maternal heirs asked their attorney to object. These heirs were pleased with the work of ARB and felt it unfair that a firm would be paid even if other heirs were not located. After many months, the fee-based firm filed their report with the court. In the report, the firm confirmed ARB findings that there were no paternal heirs. Because of the contract signed with the firm, the estate had to pay $11,000 for the identical work which ARB had submitted at no cost to the estate. ARB uses this actual case to advise estates and heirs of the potential problems in fee-based agreements.