Success Stories

Quiet Title Action Success: How HeirSearch Empowers Attorney to Resolve Property Matter

An attorney in Texas hired HeirSearch to identify & locate Beatrice Hawthorn and, if deceased, her issue.

Given their inherent value, property transfers, Quiet Titles, and agricultural or mining claims often present unique challenges for the parties involved, and this case study is no exception.

When a Texas-based attorney was set to inherit mining/agricultural claims from his recently deceased mother, one fascinating wrinkle threw a wrench in his plans to sell the property upon the transfer: 20 years before his mother’s death, another person—whose whereabouts and status were unknown—was lumped onto his mother’s property tax bill.

Since then, the attorney’s mother, her estate, and now the attorney had been paying taxes on behalf of this mysterious Tenant-in-Common. And because the attorney wanted to sell the property upon inheriting it, he had to be able to contact anyone with any possible interest in the property.

So who was this curious Tenant-in-Common? And what was their relationship to the decedent and, correspondingly, the attorney set to inherit his mother’s property?

Continue reading to see the mystery unfold.

Tracing the Enigmatic Tenant-in-Common.

When the attorney tasked HeirSearch with identifying and locating the elusive Tenant-in-Common, her whereabouts and status were unknown. Our focus was to determine if this Tenant-in-Common— known as Beatrice Matthews/Beatrice Matthews Hawthorne/Beatrice Hawthorne/Beatrice Hawthorn across various records and documents—was alive or deceased, and if the latter, identify any probate proceedings and heirs to her portion of the property.

HeirSearch carefully reviewed the documents and information the attorney provided, which set the initial foundation of the search and included the following:

  • The Hawthorn Family Outline.
  • Beatrice Hawthorn was listed as a tenant-in-common on the Texas property in question.
  • Beatrice Hawthorn was associated with another unknown individual, Elizabeth Ann Wilson, at a last known address in Arizona.

We then began a thorough investigation using these nuggets of information as our compass. Obituaries, marriage records, and census data unveiled Beatrice’s two marriages and her children. Surviving her was a second husband, two sons from her first marriage, and five grandchildren.

Our search then expanded to unearth birth, marriage, and death records, as well as online publications and patent applications tied to Beatrice’s son, Caleb Matthews Wilson. These records enabled us to trace his movement across various states and locate his family, including his wife: Elizabeth Ann Cooper Wilson.

Through census searches in Caleb’s previous residencies, we successfully identified him, his wife, Elizabeth Ann, and their daughters, Rebecca A. Wilson and Annie L. Wilson. These daughters emerged as verified heirs, while another sister, of Rebecca and Annie who had no descendants, also came to light.

Up to that point in our investigation, we had identified seven lineal heirs:

  • Two children, both deceased.
  • Five grandchildren, one deceased and four living.

Satisfied with our research, the attorney requested our final report summarizing the abovementioned findings. They expressed intent to reengage HeirSearch if they required further assistance tracking down the descendants of other potential property stakeholders.

Property Case Closed? Not So Fast.

After four months, the attorney contacted us again with new requirements for filing a Quiet Title action on the property. He needed assistance locating the heirs of a man named Henry Matthews, believed to possibly be Michael Matthews and Jennifer Matthews, as well as the heirs of Gavin Cartwright, including Victoria Cartwright, Alice Burkes, and Tara Griffith. The attorney also requested that we continue to locate any remaining lineal heirs of Beatrice Hawthorn.

The client provided the following preliminary details: Henry Matthews and Gavin Cartwright had undergone probate proceedings in Texas. During Gavin’s probate, an address document listed Victoria, Alice, and Tara’s whereabouts. Our client also believed that obtaining the phone number of ninety-year-old Michael Matthews in Alaska would enable us to learn more about Henry Matthews.

Once we secured the contact information for these individuals, the attorney planned to proceed with filing the suit in Texas and notifying all parties we could locate.

True to our commitment, our expert team successfully resolved the challenge for our client.

We established that Gavin David Cartwright had five Lineal heirs:

  • Four children, three deceased and one living.
  • One living grandchild.

We established that Henry Matthews had the following four Lineal heirs:

  • One deceased child.
  • Three grandchildren, one deceased and two living.

In our research, we also discovered an additional lineal heir for Beatrice Hawthorn, bringing her number of lineal heirs to eight, including a living great-grandson.

The attorney was thrilled with the information we supplied, enabling him to file the Quiet Title action successfully. He praised our research team for diligently pursuing every lead and request in a timely, efficient manner:

“HeirSearch did a complete and highly professional job. I really appreciated their telling me what was happening and then what was done. They gave me estimates of the costs, got my approval, and then kept within the budget. I will definitely use them again if and when the need arises.”

Helping Attorneys Resolve Property Matters for Over 55 Years.

We hope you enjoyed this success story detailing our diligent work helping an attorney resolve a complex property inheritance case. If you are an attorney and have a client needing to establish property ownership to Quiet Title, you can trust HeirSearch to help you get the job done.

This story is just one example of our remarkable research capabilities that have seen us earn our status as an industry leader for over 55 years. Since 1967, we’ve successfully completed tens of thousands of worldwide searches. Click here to read more HeirSearch success stories.

We work exclusively with executors, administrators, trustees, fiduciaries, bank and trust officers, and their counsel to establish kinship and identify heirs for legal purposes. And we proudly offer no-cost, no-obligation consultations, court-ready reports, and reasonable, non-percentage-based fees, even if you are not planning to start a search immediately.

Feel free to reach out with any questions — we look forward to connecting!

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Disclaimer: Although accurate in scope, all identifying information such as names, dates and locations have been changed in order to protect the privacy of individuals.
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