Finding out about your family's origins has a long tradition but it was catapulted into the limelight thanks to the likes of BBC's Who Do You Think You Are?

And, as one of the tutors on the University of Aberdeen private client post-graduate diploma course, it's exciting to see the Aberdeen Law Project is providing its law students with some excellent real world experience of what life in the world of private client can be like.

When someone dies intestate, meaning without a will, there is an order of precedence to follow and, while in most cases, there will be immediate and close family, that isn't always the case.

Here, the step-child appears to have been the only "family" the person had but that didn't mean they were entitled to inherit the estate.

I've had a few of these intestate estates over the years including one where we identified nearly 200 beneficiaries and, much to our amusement and surprise, these included my next-door neighbour.

In an intestacy the question of who is entitled to inherit is key to the whole process as the court can only appoint someone entitled to the estate as an executor. If you don't have an executor, you can't get confirmation in the estate. If you don't have confirmation, you can't deal with the assets.

While I would always still recommend having a will in place, it's fair to say a good geneologist or family historian is also important in the process.