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Estate genealogists are professionals commissioned by notaries or any other person with a direct and legitimate interest to act (article 36 of the Law of June 23, 2006) to find heirs or confirm devolutions, when an estate is opened. They can also intervene on public summons in cases of expropriation, escheatment and vacant estates.

They have two main activities:

  • The search for and representation of heirs by blood, legatees or beneficiaries of life insurance policies, concerning rights that they may acquire as part of the settlement of an estate.
  • Certification of the rights of known heirs who cannot prove their rights and/or the existence of other heirs.

Some probate genealogists can also handle land genealogy files, which involve tracing the owner of a property as part of :

  • of vacant estates,
  • of unclaimed estates,
  • masterless property,
  • of derelict property.

It also involves searching for old title deeds or justifying acquisitive prescriptions or notoriety.
The main prescribers are private individuals, real estate agencies, developers, town halls and also any individual or legal entity with a direct and legitimate interest in finding the owners of a property.

For a percentage of the estate, probate genealogists reveal their rights to the heirs they have traced. They represent the heirs in all matters relating to the liquidation of the estate. They are paid only when the estate is settled.