Success Stories

An Heir Search Spanning the Globe

 A private fiduciary company in California retains HeirSearch’s services to identify, locate, and prove a decedent’s Level II heirs. 

When the beneficiary of a special needs trust died intestate, the trustee—a California-based private fiduciary company—retained HeirSearch to identify, locate, prove, and report the decedent’s Paternal and Maternal Level II heirs (grandparents, aunts and uncles, and their issue) per capita.

The trustee provided HeirSearch with the following information:

  • Death Certificates for the decedent, Gaby Petersen, and her parents.
  • Gaby never married and had no issue.
  • Norman Petersen, a possible paternal heir, lived in Denmark.
  • Her first cousin, son of paternal uncle Paul Petersen, was deceased.
  • A first cousin of Gaby’s mother lived in the US, only spoke Spanish, and had ties to Nicaragua.

Accordingly, HeirSearch needed to search for the decedent’s Level II heirs across the US, Denmark, and Nicaragua.

After reviewing available online Nicaraguan birth, marriage, and death records, no documents could be located for the Maternal Grandparents. With no other familial records available for Gaby’s Maternal Level II Heirs, HeirSearch and the trustee agreed to prioritize locating Paternal Heirs.

To that order, our researchers conducted thorough census record searches in Denmark, where her Paternal Heirs were most likely to be. We located records for Niels Petersen and Signe Petersen (Paternal Grandparents), which confirmed that the couple had only two children: Paul Petersen (Paternal Uncle) and the decedent’s father. Our researchers searched earlier Denmark census records and learned that neither had been married previously.

The investigation intensified when dozens of matches came back after searching for Paul Peterson’s son, Norman Petersen, across various online Danish directories. The search was narrowed to a specific municipality where seven likely matches were identified.

Our team’s efforts proved successful when HeirSearch identified, located, and reported a living Paternal First Cousin, Norman Petersen. HeirSearch determined that a person with the name of Norman Thon was, in fact, Norman Petersen, the heir that the trustee had initially mentioned.

Our researchers corresponded with Norman Thon via telephone and email. He shared that his parents divorced when he was young and that his mother remarried a man whose surname was Thon. Norman confirmed that he was an only child and that his uncle, the decedent’s father, was his father’s only sibling.

With the decedent’s Level II heirs officially accounted for, HeirSearch provided our research and corresponding documentation to the trustee. Pleased with the substantiated records we provided, the trustee delivered the documents to the courts, fulfilling their fiduciary duty.

If you are a trustee and need to establish an heirship to satisfy the terms of a trust, HeirSearch can help. We offer no-cost, no-obligation consultations, even if you are not planning to start a search right away. Feel free to reach out with any questions you might have — we look forward to connecting!

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