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Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6845
Experience:  30+ yrs. handling probate estate, wills, trust, inheritance & real estate related matters
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My cousins and I have just learned we have possibly inherited

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My cousins and I have just learned we have possibly inherited over 6,000,000 maybe more from relatives we really did not know about. It seems we are the only living direct descendants yet. We found out by being contacted by a search agency who of course wants to help us through the whole process for an egregious fee. What should be our first step?

Hello and thanks for submitting this interesting question to JA. What good luck - we hope. The first step is what you have already done, which is to investigate the matter.

Finder businesses are generally legitimate, but there are scams too. The way to tell the difference is whether or not the fee is payable ONLY from the money that you recover. You should NEVER pay anything up front. That goes for any kind of tax or fee that they say has to be paid first. Those usually don't exist. Everything must be on a contingency fee basis. The fees are also negotiable and for a recovery of $6,000,000 they should be very negotiable. How much are they asking for? I am a partner in this kind of business and I know we'd be thrilled to get this business and would negotiate a small percentage fee. Another aspect is that you seem to know where the money is and you can prove the lineage. Do you know if the money is being held by a state's abandoned property fund, or is it in a pending probate estate and you don't know where it is .) So the question becomes, do you need the finders in order to recover it? This is as far as I can go with the information at hand. I'll be happy to continue to answer follow up questions and try to help you as much as possible.

I hope that this information is helpful. Please click on a smiley face so that I will be compensated for assisting you. If you have a follow up question please send me back a Reply without entering any rating. Also, be sure to verify this information with a local attorney who is familiar with your local laws and procedures. Thanks again for using Pearl.Com- Just Answer. Your business is appreciated.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
They originally said 25 percent which was a no go and of course they will negotiate. My wife used to work in trust and estates in Boston so we are checking in with attorneys there, and yes it is in the Massachusetts unclaimed fund except for a pension fund I have found. Also two brothers involved not sure if there is any probate.

Hello again. I don't understand why they disclosed that information to you without first having a signed agreement. My state (Indiana) law limits finders fees to 10% on money in the unclaimed property fund, if that is any indication. Also, since you now know about the fund's location, anyone can assist you in recovering it, including a lawyer who would charge you at an hourly fee rate. The probate probably preceded the money being paid to the state because the heirs couldn't be located. If you know what county your ancestor lived in, you can review that probate proceeding. One thing to be careful of is any time limit on claiming before it finally escheats to the state. It sounds like you have the situation well in hand. Good Luck!

THanks for your positive rating, and for using Just Answer. Your business is appreciated.

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