Are some people too trusting?

6 June 2015

Today, I have been quite amazed by the stupidity of folk in various guises. Some of these guises will not be made available for public consumption so as to avoid embarrassing the people involved. However, some of the events of this week have made me consider carefully the ‘trust issue’: are some people too trusting these days? Is there such a thing as being overcautious?

In our field, we have to prove the identity of beneficiaries in cases which we file with the Government Legal Department (formerly the Treasury Solicitors). More often than not, we do not personally meet our clients and they are happy to send their identification documents for us to take certified copies and process the claim on their behalf. Occasionally, people question why this paperwork is needed and we explain that it is to prevent fraudulent claims against estates. Recently, an elderly beneficiary suggested that I could go round to her house and look at her poll tax bill but “that’s it!” Well unfortunately, the claim cannot be processed by our legal team with just my memory!

On the footer of all our company emails, we have a clear confidentiality stateme
 the “information contained within it [is] confidential and [is] intended for the addressee only” and also that the addressee “should not copy it for any purpose or disclose its contents to any other person.” This is extremely important in our work and so I was surprised this week that, in reply to my initial email, a fellow professional took it upon themselves to copy in another recipient. Moreover, they saw no issue in doing so without prior discussion with us at FWL!

I have had concerns for many years that there is no regulatory body in the business now known as Heir Hunting. A few months back, I became aware of a company acting inappropriately with regard to estate claims and, when I did some checks, I was amazed that anyone would use her company – no website, functioning under a BT internet email address and poor English in the letters and contracting. You cannot be serious? Why would anyone sign with companies like this?

The main problem is that individuals who are approached and told that they are potential beneficiaries in cases (generally) do not know that there are ‘many options‘ with regard to claiming the estate in question. Please folks: do your homework! Don’t sign with the first company who pops out of the woodwork! Research the company thoroughly and don’t make any quick decisions. Are they reputable? I think a checklist might be necessary …. But the obvious start is, are they on

[Source image: Trust]

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