We believe everyone deserves the same respect in death as they do in life. Therefore, when we undertake research into the family of a person who has passed away we are very conscious of our responsibility to the deceased irrespective of whether they had a large or small estate and, unlike most of our competitors, a lot of our work involves small estates that would otherwise not have been claimed by the rightful heirs.

This page will attempt to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we receive

Who do you work for/on behalf of?

99% of our business comes from firms of Solicitors throughout the UK and occasionally abroad. We do not instigate an investigation into a family without specific instruction from a client.

Why have you become involved?

7 out of 10 people die in this country without making a will (please see our wills page if you have not already written a will yourself) and often with the busy lives people live nowadays we do not keep in contact with our extended families like they did in times gone by. Therefore, when family members pass away we may not be aware or have had contact with them for a long time and not much is known about the deceased's family. In these cases our clients turn to us to assist in tracing the rightful heirs.

In cases where a will has been written it may have been written many years ago and beneficiaries mentioned within that will may have married, moved address or emigrated abroad since the will was written and in these cases we trace the current whereabouts of those heirs.

What is the catch?

There isn't one – We only make contact with you if we genuinely think you are entitled to inherit. There are no hidden costs and we will never ask you to part with any money from your own pocket.

How do you get paid?

We work in one of two ways depending on instructions received as follows:

  • We work on an hourly rate basis whereby our fee comes the estate of the person who has passed away.
  • Our work is carried out on a no win no fee basis. When we carry out work on this basis we do so at our own risk. All time spent and costs relating to our investigations are borne by Family Lines Research and where nothing is found we do not get paid. When we are successful in tracing living relatives we ask them to sign an agreement allowing us to take a percentage of their net share of the estate. This is to cover our cost and time vested in the investigation. We will then get paid at the same time as the beneficiary when the estate is distributed.

There are a variety of reasons why a client may choose a No Trace, No Fee option:

  • In some cases the solicitors handling an estate may not have an administrator in place and therefore they are not authorised to spend any of the assets vested in the estate.
  • Where missing beneficiaries are distant relatives the administrator may not believe it is possible to trace them and choose the no win no fee option to avoid spending estate monies on costly research with no guarantee of success.
  • Little is known about the deceased and their family and a full investigation is required to bring matters to a conclusion.

How do you justify the percentage fee you ask?

When we undertake an investigation on behalf of a client our team of researchers spend a long time diligently researching and tracing the rightful heirs. Contrary to popular belief this involves many hours/weeks/months of research establishing and proving family connections and ensuring all beneficiaries entitled are traced. Anyone who has attempted to find out about their own family history will tell you how time consuming and costly an exercise this is.

The percentage fee we charge is set at the beginning of our research, with the approval of our client as a fair fee for work carried out, taking into account the commonness of the surname involved, size of the family and lastly estate size.

What happens after I sign the agreement?

We compile a full report to our client including your details and all documentation required to prove kinship.

The solicitors will then wind up the estate and will, in due course, send you your inheritance direct and at the same time pay us our fee in accordance with the agreement.

This process can at times be lengthy depending on what assets are involved in the estate and we therefore do recommend you do not spend on the strength of this inheritance until you receive it.

Nevertheless if we have contacted you – you are entitled to inherit and all you have to do is sign the agreement and then sit back and wait.