• Why would a genealogist contact me when I haven’t asked for anything?

    Someone to whom you are related, or whom you don't know, has died childless and with no other relative closer than you.
    The genealogist has identified you through a search, and you probably knew nothing about your rights. You couldn't have asked him anything because you didn't know anything about the matter for which he was carrying out the search.

  • Isn't it the Solicitor's job to search for heirs?

    The Solicitor has an obligation to search for heirs. Where his means prevent him from completing the task, he calls on a professional genealogist who travels in France or abroad to carry out in-depth searches and, often, real investigations.

  • I know all my family well. I don't see who I might inherit from?

    French law allows you to inherit to the 6th degree (see table under the heading "What we do"). Do you know all the descendants of all the brothers and sisters of each of your 4 grandparents?

  • Why doesn't the genealogist immediately reveal every details about the estate ?

    The genealogist offers the heir a contract in which he undertakes to settle the estate thanks his previous genealogical research in return for a just fee based on the wealth that he is going to provide for the heir.
    He will not give information free of charge without any assurance of being paid for his efforts.
    He will then make the revelation when he has found all the heirs and the case is complete. In this way, he can provide evidence to the Tax Authorities that the heirs were not aware of their rights and cannot be held responsible for the late payment of inheritance tax.

  • What happens in cases where liabilities exceed assets?

    The genealogist's contract guarantees the heir against all risks linked to the existence of liabilities in the estate. If the genealogist, as the heir's representative, accepts an estate that is in deficit, he alone will bear the consequences.
    The heir does not therefore run any risk.

  • Who will settle the estate?

    The Solicitor settles the estate and the heirs are represented by the genealogist, who has had them sign a power of attorney.
    The genealogist's fee is a percentage of the sum actually received by the heir. Their interests are therefore closely bound.

  • If I sign the contract and my share of the estate is eaten up by liabilities, will I have to pay?

    The genealogist guarantees that you will never have to pay anything out of your own pocket.
    The fee is a percentage of the sum that you will actually receive after tax and after the payment of all fees and liabilities.
    Of course, for heirs who are distant relatives, inheritance duties (taxes) represent 55 or 60 % of the gross amount... the net share will therefore be, at best (after tax), 45 %. This is the figure used as a basis for calculating the fees.

  • Do I have to add this inheritance to the income I declare to the Tax Authorities?

    No, the tax (inheritance tax) is paid before any payment is made to the heirs, and the sum you receive is not taxable

  • I have been sent a power of attorney, despite the fact that I've already signed a contract.

    The contract is an agreement between the genealogist and you about the terms under which he will work on your behalf. The power of attorney will be handed to the Solicitor and will allow the genealogist to represent you, in your interests and in his.

  • I knew the deceased very well. He was, for example, my cousin. I therefore know that I have rights to his/her estate and the Solicitor knows my name. And yet, a genealogist has sent me a "proof of rights" contract Why should I sign this contract?

    An estate cannot be settled until all the heirs are known.
    In our case, the Solicitor must have asked a genealogist to complete the list of heirs, of whom you are one.
    The genealogist therefore has to search for all the heirs. For example, if the deceased was your cousin on his father's side of the family, he has to search through the mother's side of the family, otherwise the estate cannot be settled.
    The genealogist is liable for the results of his searches. He will therefore check your rights and make sure that no one has been left out.
    This work has a cost, which can be borne only by the heirs.
    If you have been sent a contract, this is because the cost of the genealogist cannot be borne without your participation.
    You gain from this because the genealogist's intervention means that the estate can be settled safely and without the risk of late payment penalties claimed by the tax authorities.

  • Why is the genealogist asking me to have my power of attorney legalised with apostille by a solicitor or a notary?

    For each property of the estate, located in Alsace-Moselle, the sale of an immovable property must be certified by a notary (or solicitor). If the heir is not a resident of an E.U. country (European Union), his signature must be certified by an attorney at law and confirmed by the court of competent jurisdiction or authority (according to the law of the concerned country). Please click on our "Usefull links" at the bottom of this page to see how to get your apostille.