M. L. Feltham & Co
PROBATE RESEARCH GENEALOGISTS


INFORMATION FOR BENEFICIARIES

Here are the answers to some of the questions we are most commonly asked, if you have any further queries then please do not hesitate to Contact Us.

  • Why have you contacted me? We often need to contact many people before establishing that we have traced the correct heirs, our letter or telephone call to you will explain on what basis we are contacting you. If we believe you are a beneficiary then we shall inform you whether we believe your potential entitlement devolves to you as a next of kin or as a named legatee in a will.

  • Who is it that has died? Very often the deceased will be a quite distant relative who you may never have heard of or it may be someone whom you have only vague and distant recollections of as a child. You may not believe you are entitled in such instances but if our research can be proven then you are! Sometimes however the deceased may be a close relative whom you have lost touch with and it can be quite distressing learning of their passing away, it may therefore be of secondary importance to learn that you might be entitled to receive some money. At least we have been able to trace you to let you know.

  • Why have I not been contacted before by the solicitor or custodian?The solicitors or custodians of the estate will have made some effort to locate you or the next of kin but without success. Solicitors are not genealogists and do not have the expertise or ability to trace a family tree and identify the full extent of the next of kin which is why we are involved.

  • Why do I have to pay you a commission fee? Whether we act on instructions received from solicitors or on a speculative basis we usually only receive a fee by arrangement with the next of kin we are successful in tracing. Our commission fee is set at a level to reflect the amount of work thus far conducted, in the future in proving your claim with all certificated evidence as necessary, and is only payable to us if and when you receive any money. We ask you to acknowledge your agreement by signing and returning to us the Letter of Agreement we have sent. The level of commission sought reflects the amount of work thus far conducted and in the future in proving your claim by lodgement with all necessary certificated evidence to the appropriate authority. We generally charge less than others in this specialised field. Needless to say if you are at all in doubt please do consult your legal advisor.

  • Are there any hidden charges? No, absolutely not.

  • What happens if I don't sign? It is entirely up to you whether you choose to utilise our services or not. The onus is upon the heir to prove their claim or utilise us to do this. We do, of course, hope that you will feel that we should be recompensed for our work, after all receiving something that you never knew of is better than nothing at all!

  • How much am I entitled to? If we ourselves know (which is not always the case) we shall inform you of the approximate value of the estate. It is not always possible to advise of individual entitlements until the last heir is identified since the fraction shares devolving in accordance with the laws of intestacy can only at that point be calculated. Please do remember not to spend the money before you get it! Estates can go up in value as well as down and it is always wise to err on the cautious side in estate matters.

  • How long will it take? It is difficult to be precise since there can be many variables influencing an estate distribution. We have been involved with very complicated estates which have taken eight years to complete. On the bright side, however, the average intestate matter takes around twelve months from initial contact with heirs to distribution. Certainly you are assured through our contingent arrangement that we shall always endeavour to ensure the swiftest completion possible.

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