We have listened to your questions and hopefully we have answered them below
1. Have you been contacted by us?
We have listened to your questions and hopefully below we can answer them.
2. Why have you contacted me?
There may be various reasons why we have contacted you. It could be that we are checking to see if we have found the correct family or that we are trying to locate certain members of your family and we think you may be able to help us. Or it could be that we believe that there is a possibility that you may be an heir to an estate we are working on. We work on various cases, ones which we have been contracted to work on for Solicitors who need to find relatives either named in Wills or in intestate cases where other family members need to be found. We also work on Bona Vacantia lists (ownerless property, that passes to the Crown), and other such like.
3. How do I know this isn’t a scam?
We understand our calls or letters may come as a surprise and sometimes sound as the information we give you is too good to be true. If you are uneasy about this then:
i. Seek legal advise at your own cost to put your mind at rest.
ii. Ask us to provide a reference from a legal entitiy.
iii. Ask your local Police or official bodies to contact us to verify that we are a bona fide business.
4. Why have I been contacted by a number of Researchers all of a sudden?
A list of estates is released almost on a daily basis by the Treasury and these are checked by various Researchers in England and Wales and it is never certain as to which Researchers are looking at which cases.
5. Who is entitled to the estate if the deceased has left no Will (Intestate)?
Under the Intestate law of England and Wales, the deceased’s spouse, or civil partner, children of the deceased (if they haven’t been adopted out of the family), adopted children (into the family), if these are not relevant then Uncles, Aunts or their children would be entitled in priority order. Please call us to clarify any queries.
6. Are relatives through marriage entitled?
As a rule relatives of a spouse of the deceased would not be entitled. Again please call to check.
7. I am not related to the deceased, but knew him/her very well and I helped them with various things at my own expense, would I be entitled to anything?
The Administrator of the estate would be advised by the Solicitor on any possible discretionary payments.
8. I have been advised I may be a beneficiary, but I also have many cousins, would they be beneficiaries also?
The cousins on the maternal or paternal side, which ever blood line is the relevant one, would be possibly entitled.
9. I have been approached by a couple of firms wanting me to sign an agreement with them, which one should I choose?
Always remember that the percentage you sign for is not the only expenses that will come from the estate, and the percentage figure is not always the important factor. Probate fees can be higher in some areas than in others. Firms that do the Probate themselves may not be regulated and can charge you what they like to make up for their low percentage.
10. What happens to the possessions of the deceased?
In most cases any property or valuables of the deceased have to be sold so that the estate can be distributed under Intestate law. Items such as photos will be available to the beneficiaries.
11. Does your firm obtain the Grant of Probate?
We believe there would be a conflict of interest if we were involved in the Probate. Therefore we use local independent Solicitors or Accountants whose fees are competitive.
12. Can you provide me with the address and phone numbers of my relatives?
We are entered on the register of the Data Protection Act 1998, and therefore cannot give out any details of people we have located even if they are relatives. However, what has worked well in the past is that you give us permission in writing to pass your details to other relatives who may be interested in having contact.
13. How long does it take before we know the value of the estate and we are paid our share?
The Treasury no longer gets involved in administering all estates.
Once a claim has been accepted which is usually within an 8 week period, they will send any information they hold to the people or organization that will be administering the estate.
The Administrators will then have to search for all assets, apply for a Grant of Probate if required, then gather in all funds, assets, sell off any property then pay off any debts. After this they will finally have a distribution figure. This process can exceed a minimum period of 9 months as it will depend on the complexity of the estate. Therefore to ask how long this process takes would be like asking ‘how long a piece of string is’, especially in the early stages, when nothing is known. After about 3-4 months, it may be possible to gauge an approximate value of the estate. In the time limit we would also include any research that is needed in contacting any remainder possible beneficiaries that may not have answered previous letters or couldn’t be found initially. This has to be done before distribution also as distribution is being made under Intestate rules and regulations.
14. Will I be asked for any payment contributions?
You will not be asked for any financial contributions. All costs will come out of the estate.
15. What happens if the deceased had any debts, will we be responsible for them?
Your or any of the other beneficiaries will NOT be responsible for the deceased’s debts, these will be sorted out during the Probate period and paid out of the estate. In the worst scenario should the debts be valued the same or more than the estate, the estate will go into liquidation and no payments will be paid out to the beneficiaries or the Researchers.
17. Can I have a family tree?
Please request an outline family tree which may be available, others can be purchased through our professional printing service.