W.C. Cox and Company has decades of experience in locating the rightful heirs of an estate. Below are common questions asked by heirs we have contacted.
Why have I been contacted?
An estate has been filed where the identities or whereabouts of some or all of the heirs is unknown to the court. Our research of the family history leads us to believe you are one of these missing heirs.
Am I really an heir, or is this some sort of gimmick?
Our proposition is strictly legitimate. We have been in this business since 1913. We are paid only if successful in having money distributed to our clients. In contrast, unscrupulous operators demand money up front for services seldom performed. We welcome inquiries to the Better Business Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce.
How did you find out about this estate?
We become aware of estates from many sources. Cases are referred by judges, attorneys, bank trust departments, and estate administrators, together with our own agents throughout much of the United States, as well as from correspondents both here and in Europe.
How long does the entire process take?
It varies widely from one jurisdiction to another. After completing our investigations we must assemble all the documentation necessary to prove the claim of our clients. From that point crowded court calendars, as well as statutory time requirements, come into play. In many larger jurisdictions the complete process can take more than two years from the time heirs are located until the court actually orders distribution. Other jurisdictions are faster.
How is my share determined?
Your share is allocated by the court through your relationship to the decedent and by the total number of claimants, based on the laws of Descent and Distribution of the state or foreign country where the case is being decided.
Am I responsible for the decedent's debts?
No. Even if it is determined that debts exceed the size of the estate, the estate is simply declared insolvent. True, you would realize nothing--nor would we, but neither would you owe anything to the estate, or to us.
What about taxes?
For tax purposes an inheritance is not considered earned income. No income tax is due, and all applicable inheritance taxes are assessed by the court prior to distribution.
When are you paid?
At the time the estate is finally distributed you owe the percentage on the Assignment and Agreement contract you signed with our company; from which we pay the expenses necessary to prove heirship, including attorney fees we incur establishing your right to inherit.
If for whatever reason no distribution is made what do I owe?
Absolutely nothing. Not only are our clients never asked to pay any fees in advance, but all our expenses are absorbed by W.C. Cox whether we are successful or not.
What will happen if I do nothing to assure my representation?
Generally, two possibilities exist. First, unproved shares could be deposited in the state treasury as escheated funds. Second, in some jurisdictions the court will simply order unclaimed shares distributed to the heirs already represented by counsel. In any case, distribution is restricted only to individuals whose relationship to the decedent has been proved to the satisfaction of the court.