Elliot and Whitmee Frequently asked questions

Why have you contacted me?

If we have contacted you, it is because we believe you are legally entitled to a share in an estate of someone who has died. Often an intestacy case will come from a solicitor or the Crown who have been unable to trace relatives of the deceased. We are commissioned to trace the nearest living relatives under the Laws of Intestacy.

Who is entitled to a share in this intestacy?

This obviously depends on which country the deceased person resides in, as different countries have different intestacy laws. The law of England and Wales dictates that if there is no “near kin” being children, parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces or nephews, then we search for uncles, aunts and potentially cousins on both the paternal (father’s) and maternal (mother’s) side of a deceased’s family.

How do you receive a fee?

We usually research cases on a contingency basis, which is based on the “no win, no fee” system. We ask that in return for proving your claim, we are paid a percentage of whatever money you receive as a result of our work. If your claim is successful, the administrators of the estate will deduct our fee from your share at the time the estate is distributed, so we only receive a share if you do as well.

How much will this cost me?

If your claim is unsuccessful and you receive nothing from the estate, then we receive nothing, and you will not be out of pocket at any stage. At no time will we ask for money from you directly and we guarantee that our fee is fully inclusive of all our costs in administering your claim. Also you cannot inherit a debt from the estate of a deceased person in England and Wales, although this is not the case in mainland Europe.

How long will the estate take to complete?

This can vary enormously depending on the complexity of the case, and how many beneficiaries need to be traced. The average time for an Intestacy case in the U.K. is six months to one year. In Canada and the U.S. it is much longer period, and in Australia it is generally completed in shorter time. It is obviously in our interest to complete the estate as quickly as possible as we only receive a fee from the estate when you do.

Can you give me details of the other beneficiaries?

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, we are unable to provide information or addresses of other beneficiaries, but we are happy to forward your details to other members of the family at your request. We also send each beneficiary a letter explaining the relationship between themselves and the deceased.