The founder of APR is Neil Fraser, a partner of Fraser and Fraser which was formed in 1923 and is one of the largest, longest-standing and most respected firms in the industry. Neil recognised the need for professional firms in the industry to come together with one voice to raise standards and offer reassurance and protection to beneficiaries legally due to inherit from the Estate of a family member, loved one or friend.
Probate Research, often called Heir Hunting, is the locating of heirs and proving their right to an inheritance. Until the formation of APR, there was no formal quality control or compensation protecting the public and the industry was becoming an easy target for many hobby genealogists and rogues, thanks largely to the success of the BBC1 TV programme Heir Hunters.
After the small screen debut in 2007, several one-man band firms set up companies, and even associations of their own, often with little or no legal training effectively learning on the job and relying on the TV programme for their education. APR’s main aim is to put a stop to this as we believe that conducting research with insignificant legal knowledge has no place when dealing with highly sensitive matters such as the distribution of an individual’s Estate. APR members are committed to the safe and ethical delivery of legal services, which probate research falls under.
"We are delighted to have been approved as a Recognised Body under the PPR..."
The APR is a voluntary registered scheme and each of our members sign up to our Professional Standards and Ethics Code.
There is currently no barrier to enter the probate research industry in the United Kingdom so, in order to meet the aims of APR, we require all members to meet the minimum requirements and adhere to the Professional Standards & Ethics Code. Consumers will be safe in the knowledge that:
APR members who are Case Managers will be regulated by the PPR (see below)
Case Managers handling probate research will meet the Practical Experience Requirement (PER) and have a minimum of 4 years industry experience (or the equivalent, relevant qualifications), alongside having worked on a minimum of 100 probate estate files
Will hold current Paralegal Practising Certificates
We are delighted to have been approved as the recognised body for the Probate Research sector by the Professional Paralegal Register (PPR) having met the strict criteria. The PPR is a voluntary registered scheme promoting professional paralegals as a recognised fourth arm of the legal profession. Eligible APR members are allowed and encouraged to apply for a practising certificate from the PPR, which allows them to be independently regulated by the PPR. All individual APR members are listed on the PPR website, which can be viewed here.
By aligning ourselves with the PPR, heirs now have the opportunity to raise concerns and complaints through us (or the PPR should we fail to settle a complaint to your satisfaction). The PPR has a range of sanctions available, including the ability to award compensation in certain circumstances.
If you are a Paralegal or member of an Association granted Recognised Body Status by the PPR, please click here to have your say in the first ever consultation regarding obtaining automatic rights of audience for members.
If you are approached by a probate research company about being a potential heir to an unclaimed estate, ensure that you ask them if they are members of APR, because only qualified individual APR members are regulated by the PPR. If in doubt about someone's credentials, do check our membership directory here.
To apply for Corporate or Individual Membership, please click here.