Exploring your family history is an increasingly popular hobby in the UK. 
You can search for your ancestors on many different databases online from the comfort of your own home. 
Many people are fascinated by their family’s origins. You might find you’re descended from an historic figure or a rogue, but it’s quite exciting to know more. You might even find connections in other parts of the world. 
Just like a tree growing in a forest your family tree has important roots in the past for inheritance purposes.
However, family trees are also important when you’re looking for the right beneficiaries concerning a Will or for the Court of Protection. A confirmed family tree can: 
identify missing beneficiaries named in a Will 
locate legally entitled relatives according to the rules of intestacy 
verify the family tree as part of Statutory Will research 
cover financial asset and liability checks. 

Professional deputies 

Sometimes the Court of Protection must appoint a professional deputy and decide how to handle someone’s estate when they die. This is part of the Court’s duty of care. It can happen if an existing Will is outdated or if a decision outside the usual intestacy rules is needed. If this happens the Court will need a verified family tree. It’s sometimes a sensitive process which can uncover unknown half brothers and sisters from previous marriages, for example. 

Statutory Wills 

The Court might also need a family tree if it deals with a Statutory Will application. This happens when someone no longer has the mental capacity to make a Will. If the person has set up a Lasting Power of Attorney, their attorney can apply to the Court. Alternatively, the Court can appoint a deputy who then makes the application. 
Even if a Will exists, a person’s situation might change significantly, meaning a new Will is needed. For example, their estate might become worth much more or much less than before or a beneficiary might die. The application requires information about anyone affected by a change including other named beneficiaries or prospective beneficiaries under the intestacy rules. An accurate report about the whole family tree helps to make sure everyone who might have an interest is included. 
The best way to avoid the need to employ a professional research company or apply to the Court is to make sure you review your Will regularly. It’s surprising how much can change in a short time. 
Please get in touch if you would like to review the provisions in your Will. 
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