WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Solving Some of the Mysteries of Courthouse Filings
At any county courthouse it must first be determined in which office the probates are actually held most often this will be the County Clerk's Office or the Clerk of the Probate Court, but in some jurisdictions look for the Register of Wills or the Register of Probate; and on rarer occasions stop by the Court of Chancery, or even the Surrogates' Court. Politely explain your interest to the clerk and ask to see the current filings.
Each file is usually headed by a document commonly identified as the "Petition for Letters of Administration". You will find that not every jurisdiction uses the same format for its petitions, but somewhere within the various legalistic styles-or amended as a separate attachment-space is set aside for listing any heirs known at the time the case is filed; or simply admitting: NO HEIRS KNOWN.
Naturally, all cases filed with an appropriate minimum value-roughly $50,000 to $100,000-that includes a notation signifying no known heirs, should be forwarded to our Executive Offices immediately.
Aside from the obvious "unknown heir" cases, careful consideration must be given to other possibilities:
1) When examining a petition, are addresses given for everyone identified as a possible claimant? Or are some individuals named by the Estate Administrator, but designated "whereabouts unknown"? If so, you may have uncovered a workable case-PLEASE CONTACT US.
2) Another example: In cases showing a handful of cousins as the only heirs, it may be that they represent just one side of the family. Again, you may have found a possible case-KINDLY FORWARD THE DETAILS for evaluation. The same is true for aunts and uncles-they too could represent only one side of the family.
3) After reading the Will in a testate matter, does it appear as if some of the major legatees are missing? If the value of their shares seems to justify a search LET US KNOW. We would be happy to discuss all the particulars with you.
Additionally, if you have any questions about any files you have examined, wondering if they may be workable cases, PLEASE CONTACT US. Our staff is ready to discuss all the specific details to determine which ones qualify.
CONTACT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICES
W. C. COX AND COMPANY
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Tucson, AZ 85703-0967