Probate research is the process of identifying, locating and tracing missing or unknown beneficiaries to estates. When someone dies without making an adequate Will, probate laws will govern who will inherit.
This is where Fraser and Fraser will come in, our task as probate researchers consists of tracing those who are entitled to a share of the estate; whether they are named in a Will and can’t be found or whether there is no Will and we have to find the deceased’s next-of-kin.
Since our formation in 1923, we have solved over 20,000 cases and are committed to delivering professional and cost effective results. We are a family run business based in central London and are currently run by the third generation, Andrew and Neil Fraser.
In 1969, nephews Nathan and Simon Fraser developed the business, starting with a small team of just four employees. Over the years the firm has grown, with a number of in-house Case Managers, Case Assistants and Researchers who are backed by a network of Travelling Senior Researchers and International Managers; we work as a team to complete each job with speed and accuracy.
Gertrude Christensen, the Great Aunt of Fraser and Fraser’s current Partners, set up her own firm to support lawyers in their genealogical research.
Nathan and Simon Fraser developed the business into an independent, family run Partnership off the back of Gertrude’s work, improving research speeds considerably.
Sons of Nathan and Simon, Andrew, Charles, Neil and Philippe Fraser, become the new partners, bringing the business forward and integrating modern technology and classic research methods.
Andrew and Neil have taken care of the day-to-day running of the firm
The firm celebrates its 50th anniversary as a partnership
WHAT IS PROBATE RESEARCH?
What is probate reaserch ?
Probate research is the process of identifying, locating and tracing missing beneficiaries to estates. When someone dies without making an adequate Will, probate laws will govern who will inherit.
What is our job?
Our task as probate researchers consists of tracing people who are entitled to a share of an estate.
If they are named in a Will but cannot be found, we work to discover them.
When there is no will, we will delve into their family history in order to find their next-of-kin.
How does it work?
Probate research revolves around genealogy and the process of showing different family relationships to prove that our clients are the right person to inherit from the deceased.
Starting with the present, we work backwards in a client’s family history using historical records to build a solid family tree and prove relationships in order to identify next-of-kin.
Still have questions?
We are always happy to answer any enquiries. You can read our FAQs or if you still need help you can contact us.
Being a responsible business plays a key role to our success and continued longevity. How we conduct our business, how we interact with the community, manage our environmental impact and treat our employees is as important, as the business we do.
We define our approach to social responsibility in four ways:
In a vastly unregulated industry, all of our UK and US case managers and Partners, Neil and Andrew Fraser are registered under the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR), regulated by the Institute of Paralegals (IoP).
All members have a practising certificate and follow best practise methods, including the PPR Code of Conduct.
With the type of work we do, we are largely office based. Although we travel to see our clients, we are mindful of mileage and most of the cars used are ultra-low emission. We replaced the lights in our offices with energy-efficient LEDS. We use ‘thin client’ computers to keep our carbon footprint low. We recycle our waste including paper, plastic and glass and every office desk has a recycle bin. We offset our emissions with carbon offsets purchased from climate care.
We support charities close to our heart. In the past we have supported both Alzheimer’s Society and the RNLI. Much of our work is done on a pro-bono basis, whether that be with local authorities who ask us to find the rightful owner of an empty house or when we need to use our genealogy research skills to help find relatives from war times, for example.
Our staff stay here for an average of eight years, many start after education and go on to develop their careers here. We want our employees to be happy and enjoy their work so they go on to do the best job for our customers. We have a diverse group of staff at Fraser and Fraser with people from different backgrounds, the firm values diversity, and is committed to promoting diversity in the workplace by seeking to ensure that all individuals are treated fairly with dignity and respect.
Who are you and what do you do?
Fraser and Fraser is one of the leading firms of professional genealogists and international probate researchers, providing specialist research and support services to the legal profession. We trace missing heirs and beneficiaries to unclaimed estates when someone has died without leaving a Will (intestate), or when someone named in a Will cannot be found.
We also offer a number of other services, including asset and property management, share valuations and sales.
Are you on the BBC One programme, Heir Hunters?
We are one of the main firms on BBC One’s Heir Hunters, and have been featured since the first series. You can see some of our clips here.
How do you search for next-of-kin?
We use several different methods to trace people, including electoral rolls, birth, death and marriage certificates, our own databases and in-house historical books. You can learn more about our processes here.
As a beneficiary, can I have a family tree?
We send all heirs an outline family tree on completion of a case.
These are research trees, and so will not include female spouses of heirs or children of living heirs. All contact details will have also been removed.
Fraser and Fraser family trees are copyrighted and may not be reproduced or published elsewhere, including online.
Are you able to give legal advice?
Unfortunately, we are unable to offer any legal advice.
Another firm has approached me, what do I do now?
We welcome anyone who has been contacted by another firm to get in touch with us to discuss your case. If you have been contacted by us as well as another firm, please give us a call.
How did you get my details?
We obtain contact details through publicly available records, these include Census records, electoral roles, birth, marriage and death records as well as probates.
Do you contact people via email first?
Our first point of contact is almost always over the phone or by letter, however; in some circumstances we may reach out via email, especially when the heir we are trying to trace lives abroad. If you believe we have contacted you by email, we recommend calling us to confirm it’s a genuine matter.
Is this a scam?
We understand that our correspondence may have come out the blue, and the suggestion of ‘free’ money seems unusual, but we can assure you this is a genuine matter. You are always welcome to contact us directly so we can further explain and provide reassurance. It can also be helpful to speak to a solicitor, most reputable probate research firms are known to solicitors and feature regularly in the legal press as experts.
Do you have any job vacancies?
Please visit our job vacancies page to see what roles we have available.