Frequently Asked Questions

Below are questions that we are commonly asked. If you don't find the answer to your question here, please contact us.

Why have I been contacted?

After extensive research by genealogists, you have been identified as a possible heir to an estate with a positive cash flow. Positive means that the estate is absolutely not insolvent.

Who has left me the inheritance?

Most cases concern a person who passed away intestate, e.g. without leaving a will, and with whom you are connected by the legal line of succession – even if you perhaps did not know the person.

Why was I not informed about the inheritance by the Probate Court?

German Probate Courts are obligated to secure existing estate assets and protect them from unauthorized access. The search for heirs is encompassed within this scope and is almost always assigned to experienced estate administrators. However, the estate administrators are not always successful locating heirs because research is often very time-consuming and costly, and requires an international network. When we are called in to work at our own risk, we must, according to case law of the highest courts, „sell“ our knowledge to the heirs located.

How do I know that your company is a serious enterprise?

GEN Gesellschaft für Erbenermittlung mbH was founded in 1990 and, with over 60 employees, is among the largest companies in its field in Germany. We are recorded in the commercial register. Our group of companies maintains offices in Hamburg, Hanover, Cologne, Frankfurt am Main, Bayreuth and Stuttgart as well as the subsidiaries Erbenermittlung Hans-J. Noczenski GmbH in Gera GEN Sp. z o.o. in Poland, GEN Česko s.r.o. in the Czech Republic and AGHS in the USA. Many independent and recognized media outlets have reported about our work and in doing so have also demonstrated the trustworthiness of our work. For example, Deutschlandradio, Wirtschaftswoche, NDR and ZDF have reported about us. By means of the references and thank-you letters, you can see the confidence institutions and heirs have in our work.

Who has mandated you?

Public authorities, estate administrators, legal representatives, municipalities, and probate courts, amongst others, contact us when they are not able to locate entitled individuals. If we, as professional heir searchers, do not locate any legal heirs, the estate devolves to the public authorities – i.e. the government.

Do I have to pay anything in advance.


Who pays for your company’s services?

We close a success-based fee agreement with you. The customary professional fee rate is 25-35%, but can be higher in cases of foreign participation. These fee rates have been approved by German courts.

What happens after I return the fee agreement?

1. After you and all the other entitled individuals have returned the signed fee agreement, we will inform you about the type, origin and approximate value of the estate.
2. We will do everything we can so that the necessary applications for certificates of inheritance can be submitted as soon as possible.
3. Once all certificates of inheritance have been issued, we provide for the resulting correct disbursement of the estate.

What happens if your further research shows that I am not entitled after all?

In this case our fee agreement lapses. Because the assets did not devolve to you, we raise no claims to a fee or reimbursement of expenses. The risk is all ours.

Does any of my inheritance remain after the fee has been deducted?

We assure you that a positive cash flow remains – even after deducting compensation, expenses and inheritance tax possibly due. Thus, you take no risk whatsoever.

How do I know that I will not inherit debt?

Our fee is calculated based on the amount that you receive. No positive fee can be calculated if there are negative assets. Because we only receive payment from heirs, the chain of reasoning is that we only begin a search for heirs if the estate has a positive cash flow. In our fee agreement we also explicitly indemnify you from the risk of an insolvent estate.

How do you locate heirs when they live abroad?

We ourselves correspond in many languages (e.g. German, Polish, Danish, English, Russian, Spanish, French, Catalan, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Hebrew, Hungarian, Dutch/Flemish, Italian and Portuguese, amongst others). In addition, we – as well as our own subsidiaries GEN Sp. z o. o and AGHS – have a widespread network of correspondents at our disposal. Thus we locate heirs around the world, e.g. in Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Spain, The Netherlands, Colombia, etc.

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