What do you do if a member of the Finders International team contacts you? It can feel surreal, especially if you’ve never heard of the person whose estate we talk about. But here are some of the suggestions we recommend to give you peace of mind.

The first question that likely springs to mind is—why have I been contacted? At Finders International, we work to find the missing heirs to estates, usually in cases where people have died without leaving a will (intestacy) and without any known next of kin. We contact people either because we think they might be the beneficiaries to an estate or because they could know the person or family we seek.

Other scenarios include cases where a person has died leaving a will, but the heirs can’t be traced or have passed away themselves. The original will might not be valid any longer—this is referred to intestacy too, or partial intestacy.

Unclaimed assets

Other times, we look for the legitimate heirs to unclaimed assets, where bank accounts, funds, shares or properties have lain dormant or unclaimed for some time. While our work can include other instances, in all the cases we handle there can only ever be a positive financial benefit.

Most of our work comes to us through lawyers, though we sometimes research cases ourselves if we’re notified by friends or neighbours of someone who has died and appears to have had no next of kin or close-by family. And we also look at estates via the Bona Vacantia list, which updates on a daily basis.

What should you do if you are contacted?

  1. Ask the person who calls you if you can ring them back—our office number is listed on our contact page.
  2. Check our website. We list our credentials—including membership of the various professional organisations we belong to—and recommendations from the legal firms that use our services and those who we’ve found to be the heirs to an estate.
  3. Ask us about our code of conduct. Finders International follows a code of conduct and a professional ethics code.
  4. Read up about how we make payments. When someone phones you out of the blue saying you might be the heir to an estate, it’s natural to wonder if the offer is too good to be true. On our website, we explain how the payments system works and the reassurance that there are no hidden charges.