When is asked to assist in finding missing heirs, there are a variety of outcomes that repeat. In one case, the outcome has yet to repeat itself.
The trust agent called the office and explained that John* had died and there were no known heirs named. However, the trust agent believed, from conversations he had had with John over the last several years that there might, indeed, be an heir – or more than one – somewhere. He wanted us to see if we could find evidence that the unmarried man had fathered any children.
The challenge was that we had no names, no birthdates or locations, nothing, but the life history of John. This was definitely not the usual start in how to find a missing person.
Successfully finding people can require not just access to the databases dedicated to only a certain level of professional investigators, but also can require the age-old investigative techniques and inquisitive nature of an investigator. This case would require the highest level of all three approaches.
Thankfully John’s surname was not common so we were able to track his whereabouts through his life. Also thankfully John did not work in a job in which he traveled a great deal so his activities would be confined to a relatively manageable geographic region.
From there we were able to identify two children fathered by a man with his name. Calls and visits to the mothers revealed that one of the babies had been raised by his grandparents and the other, a girl, had been adopted.
Two lost heirs had been identified. When they were contacted, their reactions were very different. The son was not interested in anything having to do with his birth father – including the inheritance. The daughter had always been interested to know who her birth parents had been. She was given that information, but because both of them had died, she would never be able to meet them.
Here was another missing person investigation, with very different responses. We provided the information to the trust officer and let him work it out with the heirs. John might never have known his children, but in the end, they knew he was their father.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations