1. How do I become a member?

Please register your interest in becoming an FPAR member by contacting: fpar@sky.com or submitting the form on the JOIN page. Each applicant will be asked to complete an online Assessment and asked to provide information about their company, membership of associations, and successful case history etc. Each application will be assessed independently.

The Assessment will consist of approximately 15 questions spanning the various areas of probate research and genealogy. The questions are selected randomly from a pool so that each Assessment is unique to the applicant. In the event you are asked to undertake the Assessment again, a revised list of questions will be supplied. Assessments cannot currently be saved so must be completed in full at any one time. Security protocols are in place to monitor misuse and any such action would result in a failed application. Successful applicants will be asked to supply two reference letters from a professional associate (solicitor, professional administrator, accountant etc).

ICO Registration and Professional Indemnity Insurance are mandatory requirements and will need to be put in place before membership becomes active.


2. What are the benefits?

The FPAR logo is a prestigious brand mark which endorses your company’s professional image and approach giving confidence and offering assurances to potential clients and professional associates. As membership relies on meeting necessary criteria, the logo confirms competency and experience in the field.  FPAR is able to verify your company details and confirm membership via the website or respond directly to enquirers, if required.

The Federation intends to work tirelessly to raise its profile within the industry and commonly liaises with other professionals and authorities where possible.  FPAR tries to keep members abreast of any changes in relevant legislation, financial institution and Treasury policies, and can liaise with legal professionals and outside bodies when required.

In order to maintain standards, FPAR members are assisted to deliver ‘Best Practice’ services  through receiving regular policy updates, useful document templates and have full access to the Resource Area.

In order to stamp out bad practice and fraudulent behaviour, which can reflect on the industry as a whole and cause problems for researchers’ businesses, FPAR proactively supports the reporting of such actions to the authorities and keeps members updated on these matters. Networking and collaborative working is increasing over time and FPAR support is available to all members.  FPAR is able to offer a free mediation service, and member support, should problems arise.


3. Who can join?

Anyone can apply for FPAR membership subject to reaching the relevant criteria.  Membership is awarded on a personal basis, not in a company name, but cost discounts are available where new applicants or members are employees or research associates of an existing member.


4. What are the benefits of an FPAR member working for me?

Generally speaking, but not exclusively, the FPAR membership is made up of the smaller research companies in the industry, all of whom have had to pass an online assessment of professional competency to become members. Due to reduced overheads in the way of office buildings, employees etc, smaller companies are able to work on a lower profit margin and can commonly offer more competitive commission rates, or hourly rates for commissioned work. With regard to commission rates, FPAR considers that rates of 20%-25% are reasonable although market forces and particular circumstances can drive rates down in some instances. Rates above this level are considered excessive.  Many larger research companies are also registered for VAT, meaning that a further 20% will be payable by the client on the commission element of their fees.

As with all industries - the smaller the company, the more personal the service.  Not only could this deliver a better customer experience and accountability but can be especially important in this industry where incredibly sensitive and personal situations can be involved. Although potentially dealing with a smaller company, the FPAR membership assures our clients that there is no loss of professionalism and integrity.


5. What if I have a complaint about an FPAR member?

If you have a complaint about an FPAR member, feel free to contact FPAR who will be pleased to approach your researcher for clarification on any points or offer mediation where necessary. Please do try to contact and liaise with your FPAR member first to resolve any issues.

Many concerns raised by beneficiaries and clients relate to timescales or ignorance of the processes involved - please see the CLAIM INFO page first for detailed information which may answer your question.