Frequently Asked Questions

Information for heirs we have located

At Research America, we are often asked to locate heirs who have inherited substantial sums of money from a deceased family member who they are estranged from. In some cases, the heirs aren't even aware that this relative existed. In today's world of internet scams and hoaxes, we often deal with an understandable reluctance on people's part to speak with us when we first reach out to them.

If you have been contacted by Research America about an inheritance, this FAQ will answer many of your questions. After reading it, please give us a call or fill out our contact form. And remember our service doesn't cost you anything - if we are contacting you about a contingent fee inheritance, we do not get paid a penny until you collect.

What is Probate Research?

Probate researchers like Research America trace people who are entitled to a share in an estate. When an estate is filed with a Probate Court, we work to locate missing heirs, and we research family history to identify and locate unknown heirs. Research America understands that virtually every client has questions about our services. We trust that our answers below will give you confidence in our integrity and our ability to assist you in this important matter.

Why have I been contacted now?

An estate has been filed with some or all of the proper heirs unknown. This is a surprisingly frequent occurrence. Research America's research into the history of the estate family has identified you as an heir.

How do I know this is legitimate?

Our proposal is absolutely legitimate. For more than twenty years, our business has been to locate named heirs and research family history for unknown heirs. Unlike unprincipled companies that demand money up-front from unwary clients, we are never paid a penny until our clients recover assets.

Why can't you tell me all the details of the estate?

Generally, we refrain from revealing details about the estate until all heirs have signed an agreement with us. Over the years, we have found that this helps to protect our firm's investment in researching and locating the heirs. If we provide all the details, a certain number of people will disregard our notifying them of this matter, utilizing the information to try to circumvent the reasonable fee we have earned for our services, if successful.

How did Research America learn of this estate?

Estates are referred to us through Probate Court judges, lawyers, bank administrators, and our international network of researchers and associates.

What will this cost me?

Until and unless you actually receive assets from the estate, you will owe nothing. When the court distributes the estate, you owe Research America the percentage on the Assignment and Agreement you signed with us. We utilize our percentage to pay all expenses, including our attorney fees, in proving your claim and recovering your rightful share.

What about taxes?

Taxes are not an issue. No income tax is charged on inheritance; and the court deducts inheritance taxes before distributing the estate.

What about the estate debt?

You have no liability in that area. The Court pays estate debt before distribution. If debts exceed assets, the estate is declared insolvent. In that case, you would receive no assets, but you would never bear any liability.

If, for any reason, I never receive these assets, what will I owe Research America?

Absolutely nothing. Research America is paid only if you receive assets from the estate. Our clients are never asked to pay any fee in advance. If you receive no assets, you pay nothing. Research America absorbs all the expenses in your case.

When will I receive these assets?

The answer depends, in large part, on where the estate has been filed. Court schedules and statutory time requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another. In most cases, distribution is made within 12-18 months. In larger jurisdictions, however, it may take longer.

Who determines my share?

The court determines your share based on your relationship to the decedent, the total number of claimants, and the laws of Descent and Distribution of the state or foreign country where the case is being heard.

What if I do nothing?

If you do nothing, the shares of the estate which may be rightfully yours could be turned over to the state as escheated funds, or those unclaimed shares may be distributed to the heirs who are known to the court.

What should I do next?

If you have further questions, please complete our contact form at the top of this page or call us at (386) 793-5355. Our courteous staff will be happy to answer your questions.

Unknown Heir Search Experts - Research America

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