First, because we are bound by our own strict code of ethics: even the solicitors we work for will only receive information that is necessary to establish a claim. And second, because the UK Data Protection laws, enforced by the Information Commissioner, govern how we may use any personal information that we hold.
We have contacted you after identifying an unclaimed estate in which we believe you may be entitled to share. You do not need to undertake any work or incur any expenses to prove your entitlement. We only ask to be paid the pre-agreed fee if and when you receive a share of the estate. We would not waste your time or ours unless we were confident of being able to prove your entitlement.
We only approached you because, to the best of our knowledge, you will have an entitlement. However, in the unlikely event that, through unforeseen circumstances, you turn out not to be entitled – then you will not be liable to us or anyone else for any fees or expenses whatsoever.
Our agreed fee is always based on a fixed percentage of whatever you receive. It cannot come to more than the inheritance you receive.
These estates are administered and distributed by Solicitors, who have a professional duty to ensure that an estate is administered properly for the benefit of the heirs. The Solicitors have to send Estate Accounts for approval to all the heirs before the estate can be distributed. They will send your inheritance to you once the administration of the estate is complete. Hoopers are not involved in the administration and distribution of the estate. Our task is to identify the heirs.
No. The Solicitors who undertake the administration and distribution of the estate are paid out of the estate, and not by you personally.
It is difficult to be exact about this, but we usually say to beneficiaries that on average it is about a year from the time we first contact them to the time when the estate can be distributed. Sometimes it can be less than a year – but obviously if an estate is complicated, it can take longer. This is because the estate has to be fully administered before it can be distributed. This may involve the sale of a house or flat and/or other assets such as shares, and the payment of any debts and liabilities. The deceased person’s tax affairs also have to be settled to the satisfaction of HM Revenue & Customs.
It's not uncommon for many months to pass without any communication from us; this simply means our work is progressing. However, should you require an update on our progress, you are welcome to email or call.
The estate of a deceased person consists of all their assets, whatever form they may take. The most common assets are bank accounts or a property such as a flat or house. Sometimes there are shares as well, or antiques or other valuable items. Any assets not in the form of money have to be sold by the Administrators so that their cash value can be realised. This means that the estate, when it comes to be distributed, is in the form of money only. Our fee is calculated on the sum of money that a beneficiary receives.
You will only be liable to pay VAT on our fee if you reside in the UK or European Union. VAT at the current standard rate is paid only on our fee and not on your total inheritance. If you are resident outside the European Union you are not liable to pay VAT on our fee.
If no heirs were identified, this money would simply pass to the Crown, and would certainly not go to any charities or good causes. You are of course free to donate all or part of your inheritance to a good cause when you have received it.
If you decide to use our services, we will first send you a detailed letter identifying the person who has left the unclaimed estate and describing in detail your connection to that person. Once our researches into the family are complete, we will be very happy to let you have access to the genealogical information we have gathered if you are interested.