Locating Heirs

For over 22 years, People Locator Service has provided professional people locate services for attorneys, fiduciaries, public and private corporations, banks, and other financial institutions throughout the United States to find heirs of estates, trust beneficiaries, and retired employees, or beneficiaries of deceased employees, entitled to receive such employees’ pension or retirement benefits. Our firm’s client retention is 99%.  

Who do your requests come from or who are your clients?

Our requests come from businesses – both public and private – attorneys and law firms, trust officers or other fiduciaries, and banks and other financial institutions, typically after their internal efforts to locate the subject of their respective searches prove unsuccessful.

How do you locate heirs and/or beneficiaries?

People Locator Service works within the parameters established by its clients.  We update our clients daily or weekly depending on the client with a report regarding our progress on all cases.

For many searches, we must look back in time to a certain degree to locate heirs or beneficiaries.  In some cases, People Locator Service has examined up to one hundred years of a family in order to locate the rightful heirs or beneficiaries alive today. 

People Locator Service starts the initial searches knowing that we need to document all of the information that is available, both public and private.  The public records search includes the census, birth, death, and marriage records, which help in piecing together evidence from a public record and information from other resources and interviews with individuals residing near where family members have lived. We also use private records such as a certain type of city directory which has been around for a hundred years.

People Locator Service then builds a family tree/chart that reflects the information of relevance in the public and private records. The tree would include all family members to establish who is alive or deceased among them.

For example, if we were looking for heirs to an estate where an older woman passed away after her husband’s death, we would establish whether there were children of that marriage, whether the woman and her deceased husband had prior marriages and, if they did, whether there were children from any prior marriage. If there were no children and we were satisfied with the thoroughness of the search of public and private records, we would then search at the level of the parents of the woman and the parents of the man to determine if they had children (who would be siblings of either the woman or her deceased husband).  If we were to find such siblings and if one or more of them were alive, our search may be complete.  If the woman or her deceased husband had siblings and those siblings were all deceased, we would then have to look at whether any of those siblings had children and so on. We would build a comprehensive family tree and submit the family tree to our client.

What was the biggest family tree you provided to a client?

Our biggest case to date included a family tree that included over 250 people.  Most of those heirs were deceased.

How long does it take to complete these type of cases?

One particular case from start to finish – due to the number of relatives, the information requested, as well as directions from the client after it reviewed each interim report – took approximately 5 months. Typically depending on the case it could take it could take1 hour, 1 day,1 week, or 30 to 120 days depending upon the complexity.

People Locator Service has worked on cases where an individual is named as an heir/ beneficiary in a trust or will written 20 years ago for a person who is now deceased and no one remembers who the named heir/beneficiary is due to the passage of time. This individual could have been a family friend, a co-worker, or someone else. Cases such as this represent approximately 5% of our trust/will searches. 

Do you take a percentage of the funds?

No.  We are not a firm that takes a percentage of the funds under the estate or trust.