Scottish & International Genealogists & Legal Researchers
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If you are reading this particular page, the likelihood is that you have recently received a Contact Letter or a Letter of Agreement from PitcairnMcLean Research and you are seeking clarification as to its’ legitimacy.

Why have I been contacted?

If you have received a letter or phone call from us, we believe that you may be a potential relative or Heir on an intestate estate that we are currently researching. As such, we are requesting that you kindly contact us to discuss estate matters more fully and allow us to explain more about your relationship to the person who has died. It is possible that you may not recognise the name of the deceased person in the letter but we believe from our research and investigations that you are connected or related to them in some way.

What is an Intestate Estate?

In Scotland, when an individual dies without leaving a valid Will, (intestate), their Estate passes to their nearest blood relative(s), in accordance with relevant legislation at that time. Where there is no knowledge of any relatives, the deceased persons’ Estate is retained by the Crown for a period of 10 years from the date of death of the deceased person. After the 10 year period, the funds become the property of the Crown and no further claims can be accepted even in the presence of close kin.

Why am I involved?

Following notification from the Crown Office, or instruction from a solicitor acting on behalf of the deceased persons’ Estate, we have conducted specific Genealogical research investigations which have identified you as a potential Heir on an Estate.

Am I entitled to claim?

Yes. At the time of writing to you, we believe that you are a relative of the deceased person (even distantly) and you have a potential claim on their particular estate. We would notify you if relatives of a closer degree are located and have a prior claim to that of your own.

What potential Heir costs are there?

If you are our Client and have agreed a percentage fee, (plus VAT, if applicable), this fee includes the costs involved in submitting your claim to the relevant authorities, such as the Administrating Solicitor(s); the Crown Office, Executors and Sheriff Courts. In addition, our research fees, proofs of relationship, (all necessary birth, marriage and death certificates), and ancillary costs are included within the Agreement terms and conditions.

If there are no funds available for distribution to Beneficiaries following settlement of the Estate by the relevant authorities, you will have nothing to pay. In these circumstances, PitcairnMcLean Research absorbs this risk and covers all costs and expenses incurred during our research. (Executors will have agreed certain conditions with Solicitors which may be applicable).

Any remaining Estate Debts or Liabilities from Creditors remain as such, and cannot be passed on to Beneficiaries under Law. You will not inherit any Debt from the Estate.

What happens next?

If you have received our letter of Agreement and are happy to progress your interest, we will require you to sign, date and return the completed Agreement in the Self Addressed Envelope provided.

Please provide details of your occupation’ date and place of birth to enable us to confirm that you are the person we are seeking.

Although no longer extensively used in legal establishments these days, we ask that “Adopted by Holograph” is still annotated to your signature, as an alternative to asking you to sign the document before a witness.

Once we are in receipt of your signed Agreement, we will be in a position to discuss the relevant information relating to the deceased and your relationship to them. We will acknowledge receipt of your Agreement in writing, together with details of your relationship to the deceased.

How long does it all take?

In our experience, Scottish Estates take, on average around 2 years to complete. This is only after the Estate has been submitted to the Administrating Solicitors; all Heirs have been located and detailed Genealogical Family Tree has been completed.

What about DATA Protection?

We understand that you may wish to contact other members of your family. However, current DATA Protection Legislation does not permit us to pass on direct contact information, as the individual retains the right not to be contacted. Nevertheless, we can facilitate contact with an individual if you write to us and we will be able to forward your correspondence on your behalf. The same applies when a family member wishes to contact you.

Any further Questions?

You can contact us at any time regarding general Estate information.

On receipt of your Agreement, we will be able to discuss the Estate in more detail with you and answer any relevant questions you may have. There are absolutely no charges for our service in this respect.

We appreciate that you may have further questions as the Estate progresses and further details emerge concerning your family and your deceased relative.