Probate Process


When a person dies, their estate is dealt with in one of two ways—testate or intestate. To die testate means a valid Will exists naming an executor who will manage the estate and distribute the legacies to the rightful beneficiaries. To die intestate means that no valid Will exists and an administrator must be appointed by the Probate Court (Wills and Estates) to manage the estate. The administrator must determine who the rightful heirs are and distribute the estate accordingly. We can be of assistance in both instances.


When a Will exists it is often the case that it was written many years prior to the death of the decedent and consequently the beneficiaries can be difficult to locate. In such cases we are asked to find the missing heirs specifically named in the Will. In cases where there is no Will it is necessary for us to conduct extensive genealogical research to determine the closest blood relatives of the decedent.


How and Where We Search


There are many facets to genealogical research. Our particular type of research involves exploring old and new city directories and telephone books, family histories, census and immigration records, church documents and other historical sources. We also contact individuals who knew the deceased, including friends, neighbours and co-workers in the hope that they can assist us in our research. In addition to this hands on approach, we use the latest in computer search techniques to ensure the greatest level of detail and thoroughness has been undertaken.


Our research team successfully locates birth, marriage, and death information. We complete a family history and identify the heir or heirs. We make this documentation available to the Probate Court thereby proving entitlement to the inheritance. An agreement is then negotiated between T.D. Howes & Co. Ltd. and the heir. The necessary documents are filed with appropriate authorities and once these documents are approved by the Probate Court, the inheritance is paid to the heir.



Our Associates


Our experienced and well-trained investigators work with many associates located throughout Canada, the United States, Great Britain and Europe, enabling us to locate legitimate heirs—going back several generations.


Payment for Services


T.D. Howes & Co. Ltd. covers all costs, including research, legal fees and other expenses incurred in proving entitlement. The majority of our work is done on a contingency basis. We negotiate a percentage fee directly with the heirs or their lawyers. Our fee is payable only when the heir(s) receive their inheritance.


When conducting research on behalf of lawyers, executors, banks and trust companies, we occasionally work for a predetermined flat fee. Payment is made only when the beneficiary is successfully located and entitlement is accepted by the Probate Court.


Our Services