You have been contacted as you might be a potential heir in an estate to be settled in France. As part of our research, we have to confirm that you are the heir we are looking for. If successful, we are here to represent you and deal with all the formalities for the estate to be distributed.

Under French law, the notaire is in charge of the estate settlement. The notaire is appointed by the Minister of Justice and entrusted by the State with mission of public service. The notaire may turn to our company, European leader in probate research, in order to identify and locate the heirs of a deceased. Once we have identified the heirs, the notaire establishes the act of notoriety listing out the people who are qualified to collect the inheritance, but also their respective rights. Our work guarantees the devolution of the estate and assumes full responsibility.

The transmission of the inheritance in France is carried out according to a specific order of the heirs set by Law. The people entitled to inheritance aren’t necessarily those people you may think of. Do you really know all the descendants of all the brothers and sisters of each of your 4 grandparents?

We trace missing heirs and beneficiaries worldwide. These complex searches often take considerable time and efforts on our part in spite of the outcome and the amount of the inheritance. This is why we have to secure the payment of our services, no matter what. Our remuneration only becomes certain once you sign a disclosure contract. Our final payment corresponds to the pro rata share of the net assets which the heir is entitled to receive thanks to our diligence. It is therefore customary practice for probate researchers to only disclose the name of the deceased once the contract is signed by you.

We undertake to assert your rights for an estate in France that you are not aware of but are entitled to. To secure your rights and represent you through the entire process, we offer you a fee agreement. We believe our fees are fair and accurate to the level of work required, and we get paid at the same time as you do, at the end of the process.

It will not cost you anything personally as our fees are paid from the estate.

In order to prove your identity and your subsequent right to inherit, it is essential for us to obtain legal documents such as a copy of your passport, driver’s licence and birth certificate. These documents make it possible to legally establish your identity and lineage and are required by the notaire, a public officer, in charge of settling the estate. On occasion, we may require the original copies of these documents, or request a certified translation, as well as an apostille (stamped official certificate) and legalisation.

In order to settle a case, we will need to collect some of your personal data at some point. Please note that we only collect and use personal data that is strictly necessary for the fulfilment of our research and establishment of your entitlement. Furthermore, the use of your personal data will always be in compliance with the European Regulation of 27 April 2016 on the protection of individuals in regards to the processing of personal data. (Please refer to the “Personal Data” tab for our personal data protection policy).

Our contract entirely covers you against any financial risk related to the existence of an estate liability. It is not in our interest to deal with insolvent estates in the first place, in consequence, we look into the solvency of each estate beforehand.  

However, in the unfortunate event that a debt only comes to our attention later in the settlement process, we guarantee you that we will bear the financial consequences and cover the deficit.

The fees of the probate researcher are calculated depending on the total net share received by the heir and the degree of kinship shared between the heir and the deceased.

In accordance with the European Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) and our own privacy policy, we are bound by secrecy rules and we consequently never disclose the personal details of other heirs and family members. Nevertheless, we understand that it may often be thrilling for many of you to discover that you have family members in another part of the world. Therefore, if you wish for it and specifically request it, we may forward your contact details to another heir or family member. It is then at their discretion to contact you back or not.

Being contacted by our company may be surprising and disconcerting. We understand that this is indeed quite an unusual and unfamiliar process for many of you. This is why we remain at your disposal at all times should you have any concerns or questions regarding our legitimacy.

In the meantime, you may already find us on Wikipedia and on several social media pages such as Linkedin , Twitter and Instagram.

Coutot-Roehrig is also part of the French National Organisation for all probate researchers and the International Chamber for Probate Researchers.

If you are identified as an heir, through intestacy or a will, you may choose to accept or disclaim the inheritance you are entitled to (up to four months after the date of death). The timeframe needed to reach completion in the settlement of an estate depends on multiple factors as each estate is a very unique case. Although in average, in France, most of the estates are settled within six months. This six months period also marks the deadline enforced by French law on the heirs to pay up their inheritance tax. In case of delay, an interest rate of 0.20% per month is applied to the total amount by the tax authorities (in addition to a 10% fixed penalty if the delay exceeds six months). However, if you did sign a contract as well as a power of attorney with us, we will legally be in position to negotiate the interest rate with the authorities.