The first one is a skip trace/investigation file SWA received some 18 months ago to locate 3 beneficiaries of an extensive estate who were known to the deceased as children only. The background of the story was that an elderly lady died who had a large property portfolio in excess of $10m.
The only information SWA was given were three Christian names for the then children and a last known address in QLD where a Christmas card had been sent in 1975.
The deceased lady had lived with her brother in a large ocean front property owned by the sister on the upper north shore of Sydney. They were both independently wealthy having had long professional careers, neither the brother or sister had ever married and had no other siblings or relatives.
The brother died 6 months prior to the sister, leaving his entire estate to her. The sister then died and left the entire property portfolio and all of their assets to three children they had met on a camping holiday in 1972. The children had befriended the couple over the Christmas holiday period in 1972 and they subsequently corresponded with the family every Christmas up until 1975 at which time they lost contact.
They had no other connection with this family other than the family had been friendly and kind to them over 40 years earlier.
SWA commenced our investigations in and around the last known address . We found the property at the last known had been pulled down and rebuilt on two occasions in the intervening 40 years. We spent 4 months searching archives in a number of locations including the State Library in NSW in an effort to identify the surname of the family, which we subsequently achieved.
Keeping in mind most modern online databases only go back 20 years at best, this was a particularly painstaking exercise given most of the property data, building records, electoral rolls and news articles were on microfiche.
Once we identified the family’s surname it was fairly straightforward. We were fortunate only one of the children was female and had retained her maiden name. We were also lucky that the parents were still alive & together.
We subsequently made contact with the parents and confirmed as discreetly as possible, given the size of the estate, that we had the correct people, suffice to say – the 3 children who were now in their mid 20’s never have to work or worry about money for their entire lives.
The moral to this story is, always be nice to people – you just never know!