Discovering Stored Treasures

Discovering Genealogy, One Ancestor at a Time.

Unclaimed Estates

Locating living heirs is a complex and exciting part the services Smadar offers. She works with various research companies who specialize in unclaimed estates. These research companies identify such unclaimed estates and are trying to locate surviving living heirs. Smadar applies her excellent genealogical research skills, to carefully located these potential heirs.

How does it work: 

Most of the time, a research company who specializes in unclaimed estates will contact Smadar and her partner Dani Inbar to locate potential living heirs for an unclaimed estate. Usually, much detective work has already gone into identifying the asset and the person who owned it (often as long as 100 years ago). Many families are unaware that such an asset exist and that they may be the living heirs. Smadar is tasked with the complicated detective work to locate these potential heirs. She will then contact the potential heirs and put them in touch with the research company who will help them claim their estate.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How can it be that I didn't know about an estate which may belong to me?

Even the most organized of families can lose track of an asset. Many of these assets were purchased more than 100 years ago, often outside the country. Changes of address or misplacing of documents can lead to such a loss among many other reasons.

2. How much does it cost?

There are no out of pocket cost for the potential heir. All expenses are paid for by the company which will only get reimbursed if the estate is successfully claimed. When the estate is successfully claimed, all legal fees, document cost and will be paid by the realized estate and the company will be paid a percentage of the remaining inheritance. The company will also pay all genealogical fees. If the estate is not realized, the company does not get re-imbursed for the expenses or it's time and the genealogist do not get paid. This is a win-win situation for the potential heir. The heir has no upfront expenses and will only have to pay if he/she is able to realize the estate.

3. Can I claim an estate myself?

Anyone can place a claim to an estate they believe they are entitled to. This requires knowing about the estate. It can be a very complicated process and costly process requiring a lot of upfront expenses and legal fees without any guarantee to a successful claim. Even if the claimant is entitled to the estate, other heirs may be discovered in the process, reducing the value of the remaining inheritance and potential leaving the claimant with more high out of pocket cost paid for expensive certificates, lawyer fees and private researchers.

The asset has no known value, until it is claimed. If the research company is hired, than the risk is borne by the company if it turns out that the value of the estate is low or that there is a large number of heirs. The company research company we work with work on a "no-win, no fee" basis. The take the risk and for the claimant it's a win-win.

4. How much money will I get?

That depends on many factors including the size of the determined value of the estate, the number of heir identified and the amount of expensive. Since the research company only gets paid if the estate is realized and after expenses are paid, then are only interested in estates which have a good chance to produce attractive inheritances. In general we are approached to located heir, only on estates that the research company feels will be worth their time and efforts.

5. How long does it take?

The time it takes to process a claim on an estate can be extremely variable. It depends on the size of the estate, the number of heirs and problems which may arise along the way including tracing the heirs and proving their entitlement to the estate. The time frame can range from a few months, in simple cases to many years in large, complex cases.

6.  How do I know this is not a fraud?

You should always be very careful since there is a lot of fraud out there. We recommend that you speak to other family members, speak to a lawyer and do your due diligence. We will be happy to offer references. We will be happy to speak to you on the phone or meet in person.

7. How much work or time will this require of me?

Once you reach an agreement to hire the research company, they will do all the work. All you will have to do is sign a power of attorney allowing them to work on your behalf in order to realize the claim. If there are other heirs identified, you will not have to unify and reach agreements with them. The research company's lawyers will explain the legalities of how much each heir is entitled to and will handle all of the necessary paperwork.

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