"There has been much publicity recently about all kinds of scams being attempted on the public, some unfortunately succeeding.
This is against the background of the popularity of various television programmes featuring probate researchers and genealogists. Unfortunately the industry is not regulated. If you receive a letter, e-mail or telephone call advising that you may be entitled to an inheritance from the estate of someone who has died, it is important that you stop and take stock of the information being offered.
Take down the details and request contact details so that you can respond when you have been able to consider the matter fully. If the approach appears genuine then you should instruct your own solicitor to advise you on how you should proceed and to represent your interests.
Probate genealogists do very valuable work and are entitled to charge a fee for their work. The fee is either on a time basis for research carried out or it may be based on a percentage of the amount that you are entitled to.
If you receive an approach asking for money to register your claim then this is very likely to be a scam.
If in doubt, take legal advice."
Probate fraudsters are stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds by cashing in on the public’s fascination for genealogy. The self-styled middlemen are taking advantage of enthusiasm triggered by Heir Hunters, the BBC One daytime show, to cold call members of the public in a style similar to that used by PPI lawyers. They say that they believe their victim is related to someone who has died intestate and then charge exorbitant fees to act for them. There have been a number of recent high-profile cases of probate fraud by middlemen fleecing beneficiaries through large commissions and fake expenses claims