The following teaser is from a fascinating article posted at the June 11, 2013 edition of walesonline.co.uk. It seems that chasing down heirs can become a costly proposition…
A TV-featured “heir hunter” has been beaten by a World War Two veteran’s natural daughter in a High Court race to inherit the ex-soldier’s home.
Peter Birchwood, a top genealogist and senior partner of Montgomery-based Celtic Research Ltd, was embroiled in a legal face-off with Cheryle Vallee after her Ukrainian-born father, Wlodzimierz Bogusz, died in 2003, at the age of 83, without leaving a will.
Mrs Vallee, 63, insisted she had the right to her father’s home in Eldon Street, Reading, because he had handed her the keys and deeds shortly before his death, and had pledged that “he wanted her to have the house when he died”.
However, because she had been formally adopted by family friends at the age of 13, she had no right to inherit as her father’s next of kin, and Mr Birchwood fought the corner of Mr Bogusz’s long lost brother after tracking him down to his home in eastern Europe.