Lauth Return Assets Division

Heir Search Services

Finding the people who matter most

Welcome to 

Heir Search Service

When you need help finding an heir or proving heirship in matters of estate, probate, or other financial matters, Lauth Investigations International is the heir finder for you Lauth Investigations International has always prided itself on being the best in comprehensive intelligence services. As an innovative family-owned business, we are always striving to expand our catalogue of services to best serve both individuals and corporations both in the United States and abroad. Our clientele is diverse with specialized needs, and our brand of due-diligence and integrity ensures our clients are getting the context they need. Lauth will now be applying that same brand of excellence to a new line of heir location services that can benefit attorneys, corporations, and private citizens.

Click here to meet the Heir Search Team.

Lauth can help

Receive the Clarity You’re Looking For:

When vetting heir search companies or seeking to prove heirship, you’ll need to ensure you’re getting the best in the business top-tier investigative professionals know how to locate heirs and search out concealed or hard-to-find information. Lauth Investigations gives our clients access to the experts — qualified heir finders with the tools to launch a detailed investigation that’s far more thorough than anything you could ever undergo on your own.

With a recovery plan in hand, Lauth serves as the independent party to vouch for assets, heirship, and estate details that law firms need to move forward with their cases and to service their clients. We’re adept at the process, confident in our skills, and here to do the legwork.

Heir search with Lauth Return Assets Division
Heir Search Services with Lauth Return Assets Division

Lauth can help

Our Heir Search Services

  • Heir search services nationwide
  • Genealogy research
  • Verification or completion of third-party genealogical research.
  • Vital record searches and documentation of heirship
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Family tree with detailed report

Lauth Return Assets 

The Heir Search Process

  • No money up front
  • We absorb the costs associated with proving heirship
  • Only when the estate is distributed will we receive a percentage
  • If you don’t receive your money—you don’t pay.
  • Our team locates all the necessary documentation to prove heirship and regularly updates the claimant.

Genealogy’s Role in Searching for Heirs

Genealogical research is vital to locating heirs of estates. Even though heirs are alive, genealogical research is needed to flesh out family connections, often through deceased relatives. Without genealogical research, people can mistakenly assume that no living relatives exist to claim an estate. This is rarely the case. Genealogy is used to identify close relatives, such as parents or children, all the way to more distant cousins depending on the family structure.

Each case has a different level of complexity; some cases take mere minutes, while others can take hours up to days or weeks. Many considerations can arise, here are a few:

  • The need to distinguish between full relationships, half relationships, step relationships, and adoptive relationships.
  • Going beyond one document to determine if the information is correct or not.
  • Addressing name changes and/or name variations.

Below are examples that demonstrate these considerations.

When Siblings Claim but Exclude Nieces and Nephews

When siblings file a petition, a common problem is excluding the descendants of any predeceased siblings.

In a Massachusetts case, five siblings were claiming their sister’s estate. Research revealed that the decedent had three predeceased siblings, two full and one half. The half-brother died without issue. However, the two full siblings had children. It was determined that two nieces and one nephew were entitled to shares of the estate along with their aunts and uncles.

A Pennsylvania case had one brother claiming the entire estate of his sister. Research was conducted in Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, Florida, and Pennsylvania. The decedent was married twice, but no children were found. Researching the decedent and her brother’s parents revealed they had three other siblings. One died as an infant, but the other two were both married multiple times. In addition to the brother, four nephews and one niece were entitled to shares of the estate.

Going Beyond a Single Record

An Ohio case showed how one record cannot be trusted in isolation. The decedent’s sisters were claiming and indicated on his death certificate that he was never married. However, a quick search of an Ohio divorce collection revealed he had a seven-year marriage with one child. His daughter was in the Ohio birth index and determined to be the sole heir to his estate.

When Step Relations Try to Claim

In a Maryland case, stepchildren were trying to claim the estate of their stepfather. However, they were not the rightful heirs because the decedent had living cousins on both sides of his family. Though the case originated in Maryland, most of the research dealt with records in Georgia. Careful research was needed to determine that some aunts and uncles, on both sides, died without issue. The rightful heirs were identified as one paternal first cousin, two maternal first cousins, one paternal first cousin once removed, and three paternal first cousins once removed.

Adoption

A Florida case involved adoption. The petition indicated that the heirs to the decedent were unknown. The decedent’s mother’s will revealed that she had an adopted son. Further research determined that this adopted son was actually the decedent’s biological son; but for a unknown reason, his mother adopted him. As a result, he was the sole heir to the decedent’s estate as his adoptive brother.

Another Florida case exhibited a different situation with adoption. Some nieces and nephews were claiming the estate of their uncle. Their uncle was married once to a woman who had children from a previous marriage; he adopted them. As a result, adopted children and grandchildren were the rightful heirs to the estate rather than the nieces and nephews.

Name Changes and Multiple Marriages

In a Maryland case, genealogical research was needed to identify a name change and locate the rightful heirs. Cousins originally claimed to be heirs to the estate; but research revealed that a half-brother and the descendants of a half-sister were the rightful heirs. Initial research proved difficult, but the location of the decedent’s mother’s social security application revealed an important detail: she completely changed her name. This suggests the decedent’s name had changed too. That information allowed research on the family to progress. This new information allowed us to locate the family in the 1950 Census and identify the decedent’s father. There was another member of the household who was identified as a stepson. This would suggest that he related to the decedent. However, additional research established that he was not the son of either of the decedent’s parents.

Further research on the decedent’s father revealed that he had been married two times before his marriage to the decedent’s mother. Research on his first marriage determined that it yielded no children. Research on his second marriage determined that the decedent had a half-brother and a half-sister.  His half-brother is living and therefore an heir to the estate. His half-sister is deceased, but her descendants are heirs to the estate.

When One Estate Inherits from Another

A Florida case required careful genealogical research that resulted in opening a second estate to complete the first. In the first estate, cousins had filed. However, the decedent’s mother post-deceased her, so her estate was the sole heir. This necessitated opening the mother’s estate and identifying her heirs. Though the case originated in Florida, research in a variety of states was necessary to assemble the family. The mother was an only child, so a tree of her cousins, both paternal and maternal, had to be constructed to identify her heirs.

The paternal family mainly lived in New York and Connecticut and was quite challenging to untangle, in part due to Italian names that appeared in a variety of ways on records. Additionally, the paternal grandfather was married twice. A careful review of records was necessary to determine which aunts and uncles were full, half, and step. One line had to be traced through the early death of a first cousin with a son whose name was changed.

The maternal family lived primarily in Connecticut and New Jersey. Extensive research was necessary to identify the right family because two women with the maternal grandmother’s name and age appeared in the same location. Just like the other side of the family, Italian names with wide variation slowed down the research. One paternal uncle was married three times; it was important to trace all three marriages for children; he only had one.

Here are some very common questions that our clients often have when using our services:

How do I know this is legit?

We never ask you for any out-of-pocket money. We have amazing reviews; please see what people say about us. We take a lot of pride in working with our heirs and making sure they receive what is rightfully theirs. Please look at our credentials and our ratings.

How did you get involved in this case?

We obtain cases in many ways, Attorneys, personal representatives, administrators and also public records

Why didn’t the estate administrator contact me?

Typically, an administrator does not have the resources nor the training to locate heirs

How did you find me?

We have genealogists and licensed private investigators who conduct research to locate our heirs.  They have extensive knowledge from education and training.

What does the contingency fee pay?

It covers everything. It will pay attorney fees, court cost, all documents needed to prove your heirship to the court.  If a will shows up or the estate is insolvent, all of the fees acquired, you will NOT be responsible for.  

How do I find out how much money is in the estate?

We will let you know the amount of the estate when an inventory is filed. This is filed once all assets have been located.

Can you help me get in contact with my lost family members?

We cannot divulge any information of heirs we are working with.  However, we are happy to ask an individual heir for permission to give them your information.

Is this worth my time?

Absolutely! We don’t ask for any money from you. The hardest thing you are going to have to do is sit back and wait for distribution. You have nothing to lose only to gain.

Can I be held liable for any dent against the estate?

No, you are not liable for any debt.

How long will this process take?

This is a probated estate and as anything in the court it can take some time.  On average 1-2 years.  We push to get the process moved as quickly as we can. Remember, we don’t get paid until you get paid.

Can I get a copy of my family tree?

Once distribution has been completed, we will be happy to give you a copy of the tree.  This tree will only include names

Attorneys

Lauth seeks to set itself apart from other heir search companies by providing clarified intelligence that attorneys can count on to meet their clients’ needs.

  • We exercise due-diligence in ensuring all heirs are on record.
  • We secure all documentation necessary for proving heirship
  • Attorneys retain piece of mind in the quality of their casework.

Do you need to prove heirship or find heirs?

Our genealogists will create a family tree and detailed report, along with obtaining any documents to prove their findings at an hourly rate. In the case of estate handling, will execution, or other matters of succession, Lauth can provide a variety of key services, such as heir location or beneficiary location.

Our team is versed in succession laws throughout the nation, and use our vast resources to secure and document all verifiable information to prove heirship.

Our methodology is backed up by the quality of our genealogical research and our glowing A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and scores of testimonials from our grateful clients.

Heir Search for Lawyers

Testimonials

Our parents separated when my brother and I were 8 and 10 years old. We hadn’t seen our father since then. The team at Lauth Investigations were able to find our father and we were able to reconnect with him after 23 years! It has brought some long-needed closure to our family.

MIGUEL LOPEZ, INDIANAPOLIS, IN 
MIGUEL LOPEZ, INDIANAPOLIS, IN

My siblings and I were separated since we were young, and I was adopted to another family while my siblings remain with our father. After 25 years, I got a phone call from LII and not only that LII located all my siblings for me, and they also located assets from insurance policy that left to us by our mother. We were able to reunite our long-lost family because of LII and Thank you so much for bringing us together again.

SHARON B., HONOLULU, HI 
SHARON B., HONOLULU, HI

All four of us were adopted by our parents. Our mother was our only connection. When she passed away, we all went our separate ways. I then received a call from Lauth Investigations regarding some unclaimed funds in my mother’s name. After explaining that I had not spoken to, seen or even knew where my siblings were located or if they were even alive, I was told that my family history would be researched. I was filled with shock and awe that Lauth was able to find my siblings and that one of them lived close by! Thanks to the Lauth Team, I finally knew and was able to speak to my brothers for the first time in years. I will always be grateful to Lauth for reuniting me with my siblings.

PAUL D., MILLERS FALLS, MA. 
PAUL D., MILLERS FALLS, MA.

Associations

AISOCC
Association of Workplace Investigators logo
Indiana Society of Professional Investigators logo

Heir Search Resources

What Exactly Do Heir Search Firms Do?

What Exactly Do Heir Search Firms Do?

It’s a thrilling thing to imagine: Out of the blue, one day you receive a phone call to say that you’re entitled to a substantial inheritance that...

HEIR SEARCH DIVISION

MICHELLE GRAY

MICHELLE GRAY

Chief Business Development Officer michelle.gray@returnassets.org

MICHELLE GRAY

Chief Business Development Officer Read More
MICHELLE GRAY

MICHELLE GRAY

Chief Business Development Officer

Michelle Gray is the Chief Business Development Officer of the Heir Search Division.

From her time working on her first business venture in Cleveland, Ohio, she brings 12 years of solid understanding to the Heir Search Industry. She is a trusted partner who has developed the expertise and credentials that are essential to Lauth Investigations International, Inc., and specifically to heirs. She does this through learning and working with probate application, creating, and implementing new processes and procedures for consistency and completeness. Her business savviness has led her to work exclusively with startup companies, development, and operations in a wide range of fields for privately owned companies, and now finds herself with Lauth.

On a personal level, you will always find Michelle helping in any way she can by putting her heart and soul into everything she does in life, and never taking anything for granted. Michelle lives in Florida with her husband Gary, her beautiful daughter Dominique and wonderful son in law Kevin, whom resides in Germany. Michelle wants to let her family know how very proud she is of who they have become and their accomplishments. She loves being on the water, and spending quality time with her family.

Allison Kotter

Allison Kotter

Senior Researcher, Heir Search Division allison.kotter@returnassets.org

Allison Kotter

Senior Researcher, Heir Search Division Read More
Allison Kotter

Allison Kotter

Senior Researcher, Heir Search Division

Allison Kotter is a professional genealogist pursuing accreditation through ICAPGen in the Southeast United States. Her professional genealogy skills and processes have been honed through a variety of genealogical education including the Research Like a Pro Study Group, Research Like a Pro with DNA Study Group, the ICAPGen Level 1 Study Group, the Becoming An Accredited Genealogist Professional SLIG course, multiple Family History courses as BYU, and work as an heir investigator for Lauth Investigations. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in psychology with a minor in statistics. She loves using the research skills she learned in college to solve family mysteries. When she is not doing genealogy, she is focused on spending as much time with her two little girls as possible

Anne Marie Schmitz

Anne Marie Schmitz

Probate Researcher, Heir Search Team anne.marie@returnassets.org

Anne Marie Schmitz

Probate Researcher, Heir Search Team Read More
Anne Marie Schmitz

Anne Marie Schmitz

Probate Researcher, Heir Search Team

The Heir Search Division is excited to have Anne Marie Schmitz as one of their Probate Researchers! She has over 15 years of genealogy research experience. Prior to becoming a probate researcher, she worked as a private kindergarten teacher and holds a Master of Education degree and Master's degree in History.  You can find Anne Marie spending time with her family, old house hunting, baking, and photography in her spare time.  

Ariel Munyer

Ariel Munyer

Certified Genealogist ariel.munyer@returnassets.org

Ariel Munyer

Certified Genealogist Read More
Ariel Munyer

Ariel Munyer

Certified Genealogist

Ariel Munyer is a Certified Genealogist® and a Probate Attorney Liaison. She has a bachelor's degree in genealogy from Brigham Young University. She brings a thorough approach and tenacity to every project she works on. Living in Utah County, Utah, she enjoys hiking and reading.

Dominique Robinson

Dominique Robinson

Probate Researcher, Heir Search Team dominique.robinson@returnassets.org

Dominique Robinson

Probate Researcher, Heir Search Team Read More
Dominique Robinson

Dominique Robinson

Probate Researcher, Heir Search Team

Dominique grew up in sunny Florida where she started probate research 7 years ago. She is a hardworking, dedicated person who has always enjoyed the research side of things, as finding the missing piece brings much satisfaction. When she’s not working, she spends free time traveling the world and enjoying life with her husband

Susan Thompson

Susan Thompson

Client Manager, Heir Search Team susan.thompson@returnassets.org

Susan Thompson

Client Manager, Heir Search Team Read More
Susan Thompson

Susan Thompson

Client Manager, Heir Search Team

Susan Thompson is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Community History, with a particular interest in Wales and in early Southern US migration. She has been creatively hunting down ancestors since the age of 10 and took that childhood passion into her professional career . Always thinking outside the box.

With her combined 5 years as a client manager in the heir search industry, as well as her genealogical research experience, Susan brings a unique combination of understanding the probate process. She is able to explain and help the heirs through the probate process.

Susan enjoys spending time with her family in Florida, creative writing, live musical performances and watching college and professional football (Go 49ers!).