IAPPR: Peace of Mind for Professionals

Finders InternationalMissing heir location, missing will insurance and service, and overseas account closures are among the services Finders International offer lawyers, professional estate administrators, accountants and other professionals.

But how do you know you are dealing with a professional service and one that is ethical and efficient? Our testimonials are a testament to our quality of service, but we are also members of the International Association of Professional Probate Researchers (IAPPR) – a voluntary registration scheme for the probate genealogy industry.

Set up a few years ago, the IAPPR aims to provide reassurance for companies, organisations and members of the public using the services of probate researchers, heir hunters and genealogists.

The IAPPR believes these professions play an important part in the legal services industry. Organisations and individuals that belong to the IAPPR are committed to safe and ethical practices, including a Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Code.

Probate research involves locating and identifying the missing or unknown heirs to an estate. There may or may not be a valid will, but probate research usually applies to people who have no immediate next of kin. Thanks to the TV shows such as Heir Hunters, probate research is much more familiar to people nowadays, but this rise in popularity has also led to an increase in rogue firms and individuals operating in this area.

The IAPPR was set up to provide a place where ethical, professional companies could register. IAPPR member individuals and businesses sign up to a strict code, including assurances that they will behave with sensitivity and integrity in their dealings with people, and ensure that their charges and fees are made clear clients from the start.

The Association feels that probate researchers, heir hunters and genealogists must have experience and legal knowledge if they are to carry out their work properly and complete it to a high standard. Member firms of the IAPPR are in the UK, Ireland, the US, South America, Poland and Germany.

At its recent AGM, IAPPR members gathered together to discuss key issues affecting the industry, and included a presentation of the key PR and media campaigns that have addressed quality standards in the industry.

The IAPPR’s founder member is Daniel Curran, managing director of Finders International. He first became involved in probate genealogy in 1990 and wanted to establish a viable industry-wide association from the start. The IAPPR is the result.

Daniel said: “Heir hunting is well known these days, thanks to Heir Hunters on the TV. The Bona Vacantia list makes public estates where someone has died, and there is no known next of kin or valid will, which in theory means anyone can approach members of the public and offer their services.

“If you, as a professional estate administrator or someone offering those services wish to use a probate researcher or an heir hunting firm, ask if they are members of the IAPPR. This will give you peace of mind that the researcher or company will operate in your best interests.”

Read about the IAPPR’s 2017 AGM here.

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