Supporter In Focus: Anglia Research

In a series of Supporters in Focus pieces, we are thrilled to introduce our supporters of The British Wills & Probate Awards 2020.

This year the awards will recognise a sector which has tackled the challenges presented by Covid-19 head on. Alongside headline sponsor Arken.Legal, we look forward to recognising achievement, highlighting progression and championing innovation.

This week, we profile Private Client Team of the Year sponsors, Anglia Research.

We’re delighted to have the Anglia Research on board with the third year of The British Wills & Probate Awards. First of all, tell us who you are and what you do

Anglia Research is a probate genealogy and heir location firm, offering asset reunification and legal support services. The firm’s founder Peter Turvey was adopted at a young age and discovered a passion for genealogy after trying to locate his biological father in the 1970s.

Peter then went on to set up Anglia Research in 1979, initially to help other people trace their own ancestry. As the firm grew, he shifted his focus to probate genealogy and delivering best in class research and services for beneficiaries, which is the vision under which Anglia Research still operates.

Anglia Research now employs more accredited genealogists, legally qualified and independently regulated staff than any other UK probate research company and our services have featured on popular TV programmes, including the BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’

What have Anglia Research been doing over the past 9 months since The British Wills & Probate Awards 2019?

We have continued to promote ethical and transparent practice within the probate genealogy sector through our membership with the Association of Probate Researchers. With 1 in 3 deaths currently happening intestate, it is essential that probate genealogists uphold the fairest and most transparent practices when trying to locate rightful beneficiaries.

Alongside this, we have continued to expand our abilities to service our clients internationally. We have now grown from one office in Ipswich at our inception, to an international operation with offices in London, Edinburgh, Dublin, and Kingston, Jamaica, and associated offices in Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, what do you think is the biggest challenge the sector has faced over the last 12 months?

Transparency and ethical practice are key in the heir hunting industry, both for businesses and customers. However, membership to regulatory bodies – such as the Association of Probate Researchers – remains voluntary and therefore, does not possess the same statutory powers to enforce regulatory measures in the sector.

Trying to increase membership to these bodies and enacting regulation which promotes ethical and fair practice across the board is certainly the biggest challenge probate genealogy has faced over the last 12-months.

And what innovations were you seeing in the market?

Public interest in genealogy and tracing your family history has grown in recent years and was especially popular during lockdown as a great activity while we were all staying inside. This interest has been further galvanised by readily available innovations – such as inexpensive DNA ancestry testing kits – and also resources, such as Ancestry.co.uk and FindMyPast.

However, the increased availability of these services does not diminish the need for professional genealogists and probate researchers, such as Anglia Research, when it comes to intestacies and asset reunification research

What has the impact of the Coronavirus meant for Anglia Research?

Fortunately, Anglia Research has not been directly impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Our transition to working from home worked well, however, the third-party services which we rely on – such as the General Register Office, and Probate Registries – were affected. This initially made it temporarily difficult for us to find swift solutions, but these have now been rectified and our efficiency and productivity returned to pre-pandemic levels a few months ago.

What are your predictions for the sector in 2020 and beyond?

We hope that the COVID-19 pandemic marks a turning point in the probate genealogy sector. Before the outbreak of coronavirus, we were seeing a growing interest from firms within the sector in moving towards more transparent and ethical practice. We hope to see this trend continue and to see further uptake in membership to self-regulatory bodies, such as the Association of Probate Researchers.

Thank you to Anglia Research for their support for The British Wills & Probate Awards 2020.

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