Heir Hunters and FOIs

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Hi Nick, I think your comments in part sum up the image issues we have had over the years, luckily we are making enormous strides to be recognised for the good work we regularly do, and also for the vast amount of pro-bono work and the free events and conferences for the Public Sector we hold (which you have also attended).

We were called probate genealogists or probate researchers prior to the TV series 'Heir Hunters' which we then fell into line with to make things easier to understand. I prefer Probate Researchers or the US term Forensic Genealogists.

FYI, about me and why we (I speak only for my firm) don't think of ourselves as an 'outfit' which is clearly a negative term. I have been in the industry nearly 30 years and, with international colleagues formed the IAPPR, a regulatory body, a few years ago and this is gaining traction (www.iappr.org). I have featured in over 100 press, TV and radio interviews in recent years and am thought of as the industry spokesman in the UK. We have more legally qualifed staff and more voluntary regulation, codes of conduct and complaints procedures than many private "regulated" firms. I employ nearly 100 people in the UK & Ireland.

Without our work many estates could be (and have been) distributed wrongly, the Crown could inherit wrongly and entitled relatives may never be found. I think we deserve credit where its due.

I know that many such FOIs are sent by one heir hunting firm who have tried, unsuccessfully, to convince councils they should not use heir hunters seemingly to drum up business for themselves (quite how this might work defies logic). My firm has commissioned advice from a Barrister (copies avilable on request) which clearly shows they are offering flawed advice. Of course Councils can use free probate research services anytime they wish without any concerns.

Finders did not / does not send these FOIs, so you can cross us off your list!

Best wishes.