Here are just a few of the cases around the world that Landex has concluded in our 60+ years.
Dorothy Konrad, Los Angeles, California
Dorothy Konrad died in California with no will and an estate valued over $750,000. The estate was opened up by some first cousins who believed that they were the only heirs of the decedent. Landex Research worked to locate several additional lines of cousins whom we believed would be entitled to share in the estate. All cousins were eventually named as heirs by the court. Our research staff, however, noted during the course of the research, that the decedent once had a nephew who according to some cousins, had died many years ago. Our staff continued to search for this possible nephew. After nearly nine months of work, we successfully identified and located the nephew who was residing in a transient hotel in Chicago with very limited access to telephone and mail. Our case worker followed up repeatedly on leads about a local church that he occasionally visited and was finally able to track down this individual and make him our client. In the end, the entire estate was distributed for the benefit of this sole individual whose life was changed forever as a result of our work.
Martin Divides, Germany
Martin Divides died in Germany. He left a sizable estate and a will naming his five children as equal beneficiaries. The administrator for the estate could not identify three of Mr. Divides’s sons. They had been adopted as infants by American military families in Germany just after World War II, and only their birth names and birth dates were known. Landex Research found one son in Tennessee and the other two sons in South Carolina. The three brothers knew little about their birth parents. Landex Research proved to the German courts that these individuals were entitled to inherit.
The brother in Tennessee wanted to find out as much as possible about his family. He met his two brothers in South Carolina for the first time. Landex Research provided him with a family tree containing information about his two siblings in Germany, including his twin brother whom he had never known existed. The Divides’ unique case was highly publicized.
“I was stunned. It was like a family falling out of the sky. Can you imagine meeting your natural brothers after 33 years? It was like stepping into another world.”
Howard Ryder, Chicago, Illinois
Howard Ryder died leaving an estate of approximately $75,000. He left no known heirs and no will. Mr. Ryder’s longtime friend said Mr. Ryder and his wife lived in the same house for many years and had no children. Landex Research discovered Mr. Ryder had been married twice. His first marriage ended in divorce in the 1930s. Mr. Ryder had a daughter by his first marriage. She had grown up with only her mother, who spoke little of her father. Mr. Ryder’s daughter, who was living in Sonoma, California, was surprised to learn what had become of her father. The probate court named Mr. Ryder’s daughter as the sole heir. She inherited nearly $75,000.
John Dahlberg, Duluth, Minnesota
John Dahlberg died in Duluth, Minnesota leaving no will and no known heirs. All of Mr. Dahlberg’s five siblings had died and had no surviving children. Mr. Dahlberg’s parents were born in Sweden. Researchers from Landex Research’s corresponding office in Europe successfully identified several of Mr. Dahlberg’s maternal and paternal cousins in Sweden. Documents and affidavits submitted to the court proved they were the correct heirs. Over $100,000 was distributed to 10 first cousins in Sweden who had been completely unaware of their relatives in the United States.
Robert Bowers, South Lyon, Michigan
Robert Bowers died with an estate of $500,000 and no will. The attorney for the estate represented Mr. Bowers’s paternal first cousin, who knew little about his extended family. The attorney asked Landex Research for assistance in verifying Mr. Bowers’ complicated heirship. The paternal first cousin was in fact the only living paternal heir. Since Mr. Bowers’s mother was one of nine children, 18 maternal cousins in several states were also entitled to share in the estate. All findings were documented for the court. The estate was concluded with the successful distribution of significant funds.
Robert Jeschke, Chicago, Illinois
Robert Jeschke died in Chicago with an estate valued at almost $1 million. Since Mr. Jeschke had no living spouse or children, his sister was claiming the estate. Landex Research determined Mr. Jeschke had one daughter from a previous marriage. Prior to her death, she had a child whom she had placed for adoption. Appropriate documentation proved to the court that this was Mr. Jeschke’s only grandchild and the rightful heir to the estate. All funds were distributed for the benefit of the 13-year-old child.