Probate research deals with finding heirs and proving their right to an inheritance. In some estates there may be no known heirs, or there may be missing heirs whose names are known but their contact information is not. There may be also known heirs from one part of the family, but another part of the family are unknown. In all these instances, professional probate researchers work to trace the next-of-kin.
As the population lives longer due to improved health, and is more mobile the problem of tracing missing heirs potentially becomes more difficult despite the growth of more web based research tools.
Many people are still reluctant to draft a proper will, or make bad ones which later prove invalid, or can easily be contested. As a consequence billions pass to the state, after a qualify period in trust waiting for claims from entitled beneficiaries, or being found by probate researchers or Heir Hunters.