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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How did your firm get involved in this matter?

A. Kemp & Associates’ caseload originates from many different sources – banks, credit unions, administrators, personal representatives, and public records. Oftentimes, we receive referrals from attorneys and judges familiar with our work. Through their past experience, they know Kemp & Associates will resolve the heirship in a professional and accurate manner.

Q. How did you find me?

A. Potential heirs are found using various methods. We rely largely on genealogical research and the expertise of our research staff (including many professional genealogists around the world) to optimize our ability to locate potential heirs. Frequently, our searches date back to the 1800s. Our comprehensive in-house library of resources and modern investigative techniques add considerably to our efficacy. We are very good at what we do. If you are findable, we will find you.

Q. Why didn’t the estate’s administrator find me?

A. The job of most estate administrators is to take control of and organize the estate’s assets. Most states allow administrators to simply post a notice in the legal section of a local newspaper to inform any missing heirs of the decedent’s passing and announce a limited time span in which claims to the estate can be made. Of course, few people read the legal section in newspapers. In the majority of our cases, the heirs do not have much (or any) knowledge of the person that died. When research demands more than the decedent’s papers provide, the administrators and attorneys involved with these estates rarely have the depth of resources necessary to locate unnamed or missing heirs.

Q. How do I find out how much money is in the estate?

A. When an inventory or accounting is filed with the court. Typically, this occurs later in the probate process after all heirs have been identified.

Q. How can I ensure that this is worth my time and effort?

A. Each individual estate/inheritance varies, however our office does not begin the laborious effort to locate heirs unless we believe that there is a substantial inheritance at stake.

Q. How do I know this is a legitimate situation?

A.We understand that being told you are an heir to the estate of a relative you may have never known, may sound too good to be true. But it happens every day. For nearly half a century, Kemp & Associates has advocated on behalf of thousands of rightful heirs. Our success depends on the trust of our clients and our partner attorneys. Key to earning this trust is the fact that Kemp & Associates works only on a contingency basis. We never ask you for any out-of-pocket payments. Our fee is simply a percentage of the monies you receive from the estate. We also maintain good standing with our local Chamber of Commerce.

Q. Why does Kemp & Associates work on a contingency fee basis?

A. By working on a contingency fee basis, we agree to take on the research and legal expenses of proving your heirship and are confident those expenses will be covered by our fee when the estate’s assets are distributed. We will never ask for any form of out-of-pocket payment. Disreputable firms or scams ask you to pay money upfront in order to receive a larger sum of money later. If we have contacted you, we believe you are legitimately entitled to a portion of an estate. If we are mistaken, that should fall on us – not on you.

Q. Why can’t you tell me the name of the Decedent?

A. Kemp & Associates will disclose the name of the deceased family member after all heirs sign the Assignment and we begin work on your behalf. This protects our proprietary information and ensures that we will be compensated for the time and cost of our endeavors.

Q. Why are you located in Utah?

A. Kemp & Associates is located within minutes of the largest genealogical library in the world. The second through tenth largest genealogical facilities combined cannot equal what is just beyond our office doorstep. This clear advantage allows us to prove an heir’s relationship to the estate in a more comprehensive manner than any other organization.

Q. How long will it take for me to get my inheritance?

A. On average, estates take eighteen to twenty-four months before the inheritance is distributed. However, there are several factors that have a profound effect upon this process. For example, if an estate includes real estate, depending on the market, it could take several years to attain a reasonable price for that property. We cannot control when the real estate will sell. Some states actively pursue the money in estates with missing or unknown heirs. These states often put an unreasonable burden of proof on us, hoping we will give up and close our file. Rest assured, we will do everything in our power to overcome these obstacles and supplement our proof in every manner necessary. We maintain contact, allowing you to follow the progress of your case.

Q. Will I have to pay taxes on my inheritance?

A. Usually taxes are paid by the estate before distribution is made and the heirs are not responsible for paying taxes, but each estate is different. Sometimes an estate makes money during the administrative process. The heirs may be responsible for paying a tax on this additional income. If a 401K or IRA is involved and the money is distributed directly to the heirs, there may be taxes to be paid. The heirs should come out ahead in this case, because the estate tax rate is usually higher than each individual’s tax bracket. Information covering all possible scenarios on this topic is vast. Simply stated, the tax is usually paid from the estate, and the heirs do not have to pay taxes on what they receive.

Q. Can I be held liable for any debt against the estate?

A. No, heirs cannot be held liable for debts against an estate. Any debt that is owed by the Decedent will be deducted from the estate before the final distribution.

Q. Can you do work on my family’s genealogy for me?

A. Kemp & Associates works only on estate matters. Involvement in other pursuits would be a distraction from our efforts on behalf of the heirs who entrust us to prove their inheritance rights.

Q. What is included in the contingency fee within my assignment?

A. Kemp & Associates pays for everything necessary to prove that you are the rightful heir to this estate and, thus, to your inheritance. We pay an attorney to handle all filings and court proceedings on your behalf. We also pay for all documentation and records necessary to establish your relationship to the decedent. Most importantly, if something happens and this estate becomes insolvent or a Will shows up, you need not pay anything; Kemp & Associates will solely bear all of the costs incurred.

Q. Are all costs in this estate covered by the Contingency Assignment?

A. No. There are some expenses, including the estate attorney’s fees, which are paid directly from the estate. Kemp & Associates will cover the cost of proving that you are an heir to this estate and the cost of an attorney to represent your interests in this matter. Again, it is important to note that you will never have any out-of-pocket expenses during this process.

Q. Can you help me get in touch with members of my family with whom I have lost contact?

A. Kemp & Associates has a strict privacy policy that prevents all personal information from being disseminated in any fashion. We will not divulge your personal information, nor that of any other individual, without prior authorization from the person in question.

Q. Can I get a copy of my family tree, and when can I request that?

A. Kemp & Associates uses genealogical charts in the proof package that we provide to the courts in order to prove your relationship to the decedent. As we gather documentation and records, we update the family tree chart. This genealogical chart is not completed until it is time to submit it to the court. Therefore, we have established a policy whereby once you have received your inheritance check, you may then request a copy of the family tree chart.