Frequently Asked Questions


Why do I need to sign a contract?

The process of making a claim is a legal process and therefore, we must have authority to act which is what the contract provides us with.

Will I get charged anything?

No. We will never charge you anything. We take a percentage commission from individual entitlement, so you will only ever receive money. You will only ever have to pay for the postage of your contract and ID to us. However, we are currently able to accept scans of your paperwork removing the cost.

What will Family Wise take from the estate for their work at the end of the process?

The percentage commission is agreed at the beginning of the process and is included on the contract provided. This varies from case to case. Disbursements are any costs which are spent in the administration of the estate. These could include but are not exclusive to the following: certificates, postage, wills, probate applications, statutory notices and certified copies.

What are the risks?

None. You will not incur any costs at any point in the process bar the supply of your contract and ID (postage). We are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and we comply with all data protection regulations.

I have signed a contract but I know that I have 14 days ‘right to cancel’. When does the 14 days start from?

The 14 days clock starts from the date that the contract was counter-signed by a member of FWL team.

How The Process Works

What does ‘intestate’ mean?

If someone dies without leaving a will, it is referred to as dying intestate.

Can you tell me how much an estate is worth?

Whilst a gross value of the estate can often be obtained in a relatively short space of time, there are often many disbursements and liabilities that we are obliged to investigate and ensure are paid out of the estate. This can include payments for a funeral or overpaid benefit, as well as retrieving overpayments of care fees or rent. As a result, we will not give an exact value of the estate until we are ready to make the final disbursements to all beneficiaries. These will be issued to you in the form of a set of estate accounts sent via post (or where possible email if you are a non-UK resident) for your approval.

What if the case is insolvent?

An insolvent estate arises when a deceased person’s debts are greater than the total value of assets. The company takes on all cases at their own risk and would never ask a signed beneficiary for any money, even if the business has incurred costs in their work. It simply means that there is no money left to be paid out to the beneficiaries.

How long will the process take?

The process can take anything from nine months to upward of three years.

Will we be updated on the proceedings of the case?

Regular updates are rarely available. Case work is on-going, and estates take some time to settle both financially and in terms of contact with sometimes numerous beneficiaries. Updates will be provided by us to all beneficiaries on an estate when available.

Can I be put in touch with other beneficiaries on the estate?

Due to data protection, we cannot give out any beneficiary’s contact details without their permission. If you wish to be put in touch with relatives, we can pass on your details with your consent and inform them you wish to get in touch.

Will I need to notify you of a change in address or contact details?

Yes, we need to have your up-to-date contact details to keep you informed of updates and important information. If you have not already provided your email address, it would be useful to us if you provided it as this would minimise costs of postage on the estate.

What family members do we include on the family tree?

All entitled beneficiaries and any relatives which connect them to the deceased. We provide copies of our research including a family tree as part of our service.

How will I be paid?

When the estate accounts are sent out, we will ask whether you wish to be paid by BACS or cheque. If you wish to be paid directly into your bank, we will need your bank account details.

Who is entitled to claim an inheritance if a person dies without leaving a will?

Not all blood relatives who have survived a deceased person have an entitlement. Under the Administration of Estates Act 1925, if a person has died without leaving a will and there is no surviving spouse, people who are descended from a grandparent of the deceased could potentially be entitled to share in his or her estate.

If you are related by marriage (e.g. if the deceased person was your stepfather or mother or your brother or sister-in-law – although your children might be entitled in the latter case), then you have no legal entitlement to share in that person’s estate.

Will I inherit the estate on my own?

This is rare. More often than not, there are other relatives who have a similar family relationship to the deceased.


Why am I being asked to send in identification?

This is a legal process and we need to confirm your identity by law to prevent fraudulent claims. The list provided is a government provided list and therefore, we cannot accept forms of identification not specified on the list.

Why do I need to send two forms of identification?

In line with anti-money laundering regulations, we require a form of identification proving who you are and a form of identification proving where you live. E.g., a driving licence and utility bill.

Do you need the original hard copies?

Currently, we can accept high-quality scans of your contract and two forms of identification. All corners of the document are in the scan and the image is clear. Please note we cannot accept photographs.

How do I know if my birth certificate is original?

If your birth certificate was issued within a year of your birth.

How can I get my ID certified?

If you do not want to send your originals, we can accept certified copy documents. You can take your originals and copies to a solicitor or the Post Office and they will certify the copies. They may make a small admin charge for this service. Then simply pop the countersigned copes in an envelope and post these to us.

Should I send my ID special delivery?

You may feel that you do not want to send your original ID documents by standard post, we recommend, if sending valuable original documents, that you send them to our offices via Special Delivery mailing pouch. We will have them certified by our company solicitor and return them to you as soon as possible, via Special Delivery.

If I am signing on behalf of someone else, do I need to send in my Power of Attorney?

We will require your original Power of Attorney (POA) documentation if you are signing on behalf of someone you have POA for. However, we still require two forms of identification for the entitled beneficiary (the person you are signing on behalf of).

When will I get my ID back/how long will it take to process?

After receiving your two forms of identification, it takes a maximum of a week to process your identification and send it back to you.

Will you send my ID back to me special delivery?

We will only post valuable forms of identification via Special Delivery such as an original birth certificate or a passport. Items such as household bills or medical letters will not be sent via Special Delivery because they do not hold financial or personal value. We will not return certified copies of your ID.

My ID/bills are in both mine and my partner’s name, can I use this?

Yes, we can accept identification if it is addressed to you and your partner e.g., Mr and Mrs X.

Does the address on my contract and on my ID have to be the same?

Yes, the address you provide on your contract has to match both forms of identification you send in.

Need more help?

1 Easiest way is to fill in our short form and we will get back to you ASAP.
Fill In Our Short Form

We have helped thousands of beneficiaries in over 40 countries and across 6 continents - find out how we can help you!

More Success Stories

I learned from Family Wise that I was the beneficiary from the estate of a relative who died intestate. Although his estate was in the UK and I am in the US which made things a bit more complicated., Family Wise went out of their way to make getting the estate settled as easy for me as possible and although it took some years, they were diligent in keeping me up to date as to what was happening and ultimately securing the funds were sent to me. They are a very professional firm and I would recommend them without hesitation to anyone needing their types of services.

Linda Young

Totally out of the blue I was contacted by Family Wise Limited that I had a distant relative that had died with an unclaimed estate. With a 120 year researched family tree thrown in and a cheque I received today, all I can say is well done Family Wise Limited, and thank you to the very pleasant staff.

Peter Warneford-Bygrave

Peyton from Family Wise Limited was very helpful. My family is in the United States, so this process was strange to us. Peyton was patient with us and walked us through the process. Thank you so much for your professionalism.

Tammy Byrd

Highly professional and efficient are the ways I would describe Family Wise Ltd. Whilst the findings of my inheritance were not life-changing amounts, the service I received was superb. Thank you so much for your efforts Family Wise, it was greatly appreciated.

Bob Prior

Thank you all at Family Wise for all the work that was carried out to recover money. Was very interesting to receive the family tree.

Avis Rose

Excellent service and through Family Wise, I discovered things I never knew regarding my mother

Carole Rust

Family Wise are a legitimate company and provide excellent service.
They were able to resolve the payment of a deceased relative’s funds to myself and family members for a reasonable admin fee.

Christopher McKeown

Family Wise contacted us (we’re in Australia) last year about our brother. They were very professional and trustworthy. I do not hesitate in recommending them.

Margaret Rees-Lee

The service is excellent it was in regard to my late wife’s uncle Brian Christopher Smith, who just received a letter about the family’s history. My wife lost touch with a lot of her family on her mother’s side. Thank you for all your help.

Michael Woolsey

This company is very professional in all aspects of the world. Dylan who was over looking after my case was carrying and considerate. He made me feel at ease all the way through. We thanks him for all his advice and help. My case did not have the conclusion i wanted but no fault of this company.

Peter Ranford

My experience with Family Wise has been a very good one. From the beginning all the way through to the conclusion. The communication has been outstanding, they have always told us when they would contact us and they always were prompt in doing so. Questions were answered well and with compassion. Whenever I have spoken to one of the team, they have been so lovely, kind, helpful and happy to do so. At the end we each got a Family tree, which was a lovely thing for us to keep. Thank you all at Family Wise, I have really appreciated all you have done for us.

Ruth Cameron
Kirsty and the team were absolutely amazing words cannot discibe how very grateful I am. I hadn't known anything about my past from infant onwards. Family wise created my family tree and I found relatives I hadn't known existed. Outstanding from the beginning of the the journey to the end. Many thanks to Kirsty and not forgetting the rest of the team. Stephen Roper
Fantastic work. Big family to trace, so much work. Thank you Barbara Havey
© 2024 Family Wise | Privacy Policy | Website created by: stellasoft