Heirs

If you been contacted by our firm about an inheritance, these heir resources are for you.

Only the court can legally declare individuals as “heirs” in the legal sense, so we will often use the term “next-of-kin” to substitute for the term “heir”.

Verification

Sometimes next-of-kin are hesitant to cooperate when first contacted due to the unfortunate prevalence of scams claiming to offer money to individuals. Usually this hesitancy can easily be overcome by speaking with our staff about the case, and getting your questions answered. One caution: we recommend that you consult your attorney if you prefer to have third party legal advice before signing the paperwork we send, but that you also have your attorney speak to our attorney. Some attorneys are unfamiliar with the probate process in Germany and the type of business that is conducted.

HEREDIUM Probate Research LLC’s attorney Justin Cutler can be contacted through his website at JCutlerLaw.com

Probate process

International paperwork

The majority of our probate cases are for individuals who have passed away in Germany. The initial paperwork will be mailed from our affiliate headquarters in Gummersbach, Germany, from Henning Schröder Internationale Erbenermittlung GmbH.

Our involvement

We may be hired by the administrator of the estate or an attorney to locate the heirs, or we may work on public unsolved cases at our own risk.

Timeline

These cases can sometimes be completed within two years from our initial contact, but may take several years depending on the complexity of the case. It is important that you cooperate promptly to avoid delays. The following are the steps during which the next-of-kin is typically involved.

  1. Initiate representation
    Receive, sign, and return our fee agreement and limited power of attorney documents.
  2. Provide proof of relationship documents
    The court requires certified vital records (i.e. birth, death, and marriage certificates). If these events occurred in a state whose laws prevent us from obtaining the certificates, your help ordering the documents may be necessary.
  3. Provide notarized copy of photo ID and bank details
    Bank details are required to wire funds from Germany. You should only provide these to trusted individuals for purposes you are comfortable with. If you prefer, you may open a new bank account for the purposes of receiving your inheritance funds.

The process has more than these three steps, and at the discretion of the court other steps could be required. For example, one or more next-of-kin could be asked to present themselves at their nearest German consulate to complete paperwork in person. Please be aware that estate settlement will depend on factors beyond our control, including the court’s schedule. Further details about your case can be requested via email: info@herediumresearch.com