Problems tracing missing beneficiaries? Sometimes good old-fashioned police work is what is needed


After 31 years’ police work, most in the CID, you might think Alan Eadie had had enough of trying to track people down. But he claims to enjoy his new role as a private investigator searching for missing relatives in an executry – especially as his targets are no longer trying to climb out of the back window when he comes to call!

After retiring from his police career, where he reached the rank of detective chief inspector serving in various locations in Edinburgh and in the Serious Crime Squad and Fraud Squad, Eadie initially hired himself out to insurance companies checking out cases of possible fraud, before a friend put him in touch with a solicitor who had a missing beneficiary problem. Having solved that, he saw a market and in the past year has taken on, and completed, some 70-odd similar cases.

Keen to differentiate himself from professional heir hunters, he adds that he only operates under instruction from the legal profession, and does not charge commission but operates on a set hourly rate.

And although he has all the necessary IT assistance to hand, he goes out on enquiry work, and has covered most of Scotland taking statements from relatives and obtaining all necessary identification, so that when he reports to his instructing solicitors they have everything needed to proceed to confirmation.

He uses associates – always former police – whom he can bring in if an assignment requires a particular expertise, such as the time he called on a trained expert to carry out a search of premises.

Often instructed in cases where there is no will and the solicitors are unsure where to start in finding the relatives, he cites one instance where other investigators had drawn a blank, but after two months he had turned up five first cousins, 18 second cousins and three third cousins, in several different countries.

“It’s a lovely job”, he says. “After the first case I realised this was the market for me. I really enjoy it and it’s a labour of love, to be honest. And we’re police, you know. We don’t give up.” 

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