Elliot and Whitmee Information for Solicitors

Elliot & Whitmee provide a specialist service to the legal profession and financial institutions in unclaimed estates. Our work involves tracing the next of kin of a person who has died and usually falls into one of the following three categories:

  • Intestacy cases – where the deceased did not leave a valid will.
  • Partial Intestacy cases – where a will was left but did not make adequate provision to dispose of all the available funds.
  • Missing legatee cases – where a will contains a legacy to a person whose whereabouts are unknown, or who may have died since the will was proved and whose next of kin therefore need to be found.

If your file falls into one of these three scenarios then you may need our services in tracing the legally entitled heirs. We may only start our research with very basic information such as a name, address and date of birth, but we are able to build a fully documented family tree using genealogical research. This, together with a full report enables the executors or administrators of an estate to see who and where the entitled heirs are, so that the estate can be properly distributed.

We have a comprehensive knowledge of UK and international laws of intestate succession and an extensive company archive at our disposal. We are able to undertake work on either a contingency or a fee and disbursement basis, depending on your requirements, and funds at hand. This works as follows:

  • Contingency – we work cases at no risk to you or to the estate. If we are able to locate beneficiaries, we offer to prove their claims in return for a percentage share of their entitlement. Our fee is then deducted at source, and sent to us at the time of distribution. If no heirs are found, then we will make no charge to you for our costs and services.
  • Fee and disbursement – we undertake research at a very competitive hourly rate and to an agreed budget with reports on our progress as required.

We can, if required, obtain a missing beneficiary insurance policy, which are designed to protect the executor or administrator and beneficiaries should any further heirs come forward at a later date. The policy then covers the estate by paying out the share to the new claimant.