Heir Location & Missing Inheritance FAQs

Common Questions about Missing Inheritance, Probate, Estates, and the Process of Recovering Your Lost Money

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Heir Location & Missing Inheritance FAQs

1Why are probate research & heir location services necessary?
Heir locator firms, or heir location services, help people by locating rightful heirs or unclaimed heirs, as well as tracing  and locating a missing inheritance or unclaimed inheritance.  These people may be unaware that they are entitled to receive an unclaimed inheritance from an estate.   Without our heir location services and missing inheritance services, many rightful heirs would never even know they had an unclaimed inheritance coming to them, and many unclaimed inheritance assets would, unfortunately, eventually become government property. Taking on a missing inheritance, unclaimed inheritance, or missing heir claim on your own -- proving your own inheritance claim -- can be a lengthy, difficult and often expensive task.  And often result in a lot of wasted time.  You can repair your own car, or even represent yourself in court, however, some jobs are best left to professionals – in this case, professional probate researchers and genealogists, or genealogical researchers. When Heir Finder takes on your missing inheritance or unclaimed inheritance case, all the probate research and related work is done for you… guaranteeing speed, efficiency and a lack of wasted time, effort and money. That is exactly why Heir Finder is recommended by Estate Planning attorneys and Probate attorneys all over America. Fees associated with our heir location services are owed only when there is a successful outcome, and when the estate distributes formerly unclaimed inheritance assets or formerly missing inheritance assets to the heirs.  If there is no recovery of missing inheritance assets, there is nothing owed.
2How do we find missing heirs or unknown heirs?
Heir Finder uses public information, birth, marriage and death records, census data and other public records. We also use our own world class library of genealogical resources. Your personal or financial information will never be shared with a third party without your permission, and will only be used in the context of the estate research or probate research that we are conducting for you.
3Have you been contacted by several unclaimed inheritance or missing inheritance companies?
Heir location services that may contact you are acting independently.  Locating missing heirs, unclaimed inheritances and missing inheritances is a fairly large industry with a good number of heir location services, estate & probate research companies, missing inheritance firms, genealogical researchers and unclaimed inheritance companies. If you've been contacted by competing firms, be sure to check their reputation and their credentials. Working with a firm who has minimal experience is a huge risk. If you have been contacted by another company and wish to get a second opinion, please contact us to receive a free no-obligation evaluation.   Be aware of heir location services and unclaimed inheritance firms that require any upfront fees. Most importantly, do not sign an agreement with a firm that refuses to disclose their fee. If you are approached by a company that offers to locate missing inheritance assets for you, with an advance payment, it is most likely a scam.  Avoid them at all costs.
4How long will it take to receive your share of the estate?
Different factors may have an influence on probate and estate research, perhaps due to regions affected by political or social issues, preservation of documents, the reliability of certain administrations, difficulty in locating specific people associated with the estate, and more. Although most cases are managed within 12 to 24 months, there are always exceptions. Cases complicated by relatives who reside outside the United States, overseas assets and real estate, and cross-border estates, can take several years to research and reach final resolution. Generally, most estate and probate research cases are settled in less than three years. Factors that affect estate and probate processes, as well as resolving unclaimed inheritance assets, are:
  1. The administrator must sell all of the estate property and pay all of the estate debts.
  2. Probate court must schedule hearings to approve and review the steps taken by the administrator.
  3. Complexity taxes; for example – a 9 month minimum if Federal estate tax is required.
  4. Disputes between heirs on the validity of a will or how inheritance assets should be distributed to heirs.
  5. Disputes over various claims on the estate.
  6. The type of assets in the estate (cash-only estates are less complex than estates with business or valuables such as antiques and artwork that need to be appraised and sold).
  7. Mandatory creditor claims period (90 days)
  8. .
  9. Efficiency of the Personal Representative and estate attorney, working to close and distribute the estate to the heirs.
As Heir Finder generally works on a contingency fee basis, and requires no payment until final distribution, it benefits us to work as quickly as we can to make sure that the process of resolving unclaimed inheritance assets or matching up a missing heir with a missing inheritance, so to speak, is completed as rapidly as possible.
5What is Heir Finder’s fee?
Heir Finder offers a one-stop service on a risk-free contingency basis. Our fee is based on your receiving shares from the estate in question. We pay for necessary upfront fees and expenses, saving you from this out-of-pocket expense. This type of risk sharing places the burden of risk and expense on our company, so our clients are not charged with any upfront costs or any related liabilities associated with locating a missing inheritance or tracing unclaimed inheritance assets. In other words, Heir Finder doesn’t get paid until you, the heir, receives your inheritance. If there is no recovery of missing inheritance assets, there is no charge to you. As long as missing inheritance assets are recovered, expenses are deducted from the total amount and our fee is paid from the remaining amount in the estate, as agreed in in advance. Advantages to the contingency fee arrangement:
  • The estate does not spend money for missing heir searches that may prove to be difficult and costly.
  • It avoids conflicts of interests between an administrator's duty and his/her personal interest.
  • You do not have any out-of-pocket expenses for attorney fees.
  • If we are unsuccessful under this approach, there is no charge to the estate. However, we still do all the work by providing the Affidavit of Diligent Search, expert testimony, and any other activities required to satisfy the court that a diligent search has been conducted.
  • Contingency payment creates an incentive for us to work rapidly and obtain the best results possible.
6When will you receive your share of the estate?
When all debts and taxes have been paid and the estate is ready for final distribution, a final account and report is prepared and the funds will then be distributed.
7Will you have to pay taxes?
All estate taxes, if any, are paid by the estate before final distribution. Inheritance assets are not considered income for federal tax purposes, whether you inherit cash, investments or property. Any earnings on the inherited assets are taxable, however. You will be taxed on the interest paid on inherited cash in a bank account, for example, or dividends on inherited stocks or mutual funds. There may be taxes to be paid if a 401K or IRA is involved and the money is distributed directly to the heirs. The courts deduct inheritance taxes before distributing assets from the estate. We recommend that you talk to a tax attorney or CPA to make sure you are up to date with frequent changes to estate tax laws.
8Do we disclose complete details about the unclaimed estate?
We usually do not disclose complete information about the formerly unclaimed estate or formerly unclaimed inheritance assets until we have received signed agreements from all of the potential heirs. Once agreements are in place, a comprehensive report will be provided, with the estimated value of all of the estate assets.
9Do you have to pay the decedent's debts?
Your share of the estate is affected by the number of claimants connected to the estate, your relationship to the decedent, the laws of Descent and Distribution of the state or foreign country where the case is being heard, and the final value of the estate after administration costs. The total amount of your entitlement is calculated before final distribution.
10If your claim is  not successful, are you liable for fees or costs?
Our fees are paid only on a successful outcome when the estate distributes. If there is no recovery, you have no financial obligation at all.  
11Why should you hire Heir Finder to prove your claim?
Our heir location services are frequently successful at locating missing inheritance assets and unclaimed inheritance properties and funds. However, two-thirds of all independent claim attempts without experienced probate researchers and genealogical research professionals fail. In addition to proving your claim, we offer:
  • A guarantee that we will be paid only when you have received the full amount of your inheritance due to you.
  • A guarantee that you cannot inherit any debts.
  • A free family tree chart for every heir who retains our services when our work had been concluded.
  • Our experienced staff are not paid commissions on successful results obtained by our estate and probate research work, locating your missing inheritance, or unclaimed inheritance assets.
  • We come highly recommended by elite Trust & Estate attorneys in the United States. Our estate and probate research to find unclaimed inheritance assets and many a missing inheritance gives us a solid reputation and the ability to obtain thousands of favorable court decisions.
12Can Heir Finder give you referrals from clients?
Absolutely. We are reliable and thorough from the  beginning to the end of our work for you.  We have numerous testimonials you can read.