FAQ

 

Who is Genealogie Decuyper?

We are a Brussels (Belgium) and Quebec (Canada) based firm of researchers and genealogists operating nationally and internationally to trace people entitled to benefit from unclaimed assets

What is probate genealogy?

Probate genealogy is the research of family histories with the aim of finding missing or unknown heirs to estates.

How does Genealogie Decuyper operate?

We use public resources (registers, certificates, archives, court decisions …) together with modern technology, our own in-house databases and expertise to research family histories. This enables us to identify and locate statutory next of kin.

Probate genealogy, is it genuine?

  • Genealogy Decuyper is always mandated (directly or indirectly) by a law professional: a notary, a lawyer, a court or a foreign colleague to conduct research.
  • Genealogy Decuyper is the commercial name of the company CEDMM sa, registered under the VAT BE0455.115.387
  • At any time during the case, you will never be asked to pay for the release of funds.
  • We are a member of several professional associations. We are recognized experts at Belgian and American courts.
  • For extra peace of mind, we have professional indemnity insurance. The quality of our work is insured to the sum of €1,500,000. The policy has never received a claim against it.
  • See the testimonials posted on the site.

Why do you contact me?

You may be able to help us with our enquiries, though not actually involved in a case directly
You may have been named in a will
You may be entitled to benefit from an estate or have a valid claim to a wasting assetIt may be that an asset belonging to someone who has died has been discovered, or someone has passed away intestate, i.e. without leaving a will. The asset or estate then passes to their nearest blood relative(s) as set out by law, (see our order of entitlement section and distribution diagram for clear illustrations).
In some instances it is not known who the deceased’s heirs or successors are; they are often distant relatives who are unaware they are related.

If you have been contacted by us it is most likely due to one of the following reasons:

  • You may be able to help us with our enquiries, without being involved in a case directly
  • You may have been named in a will
  • You may be entitled to benefit from an estate or have a valid claim to a wasting asset

Why is Genealogy Decuyper involved?

We have either been asked by a law professional our by a foreign colleague to carry out research.

What if there are no known heirs?

When there are no known heirs, assets may be escheated (passed to the Belgian Treasury) and may remain unclaimed forever, without relatives ever knowing of their potential entitlement

Your rights

You will in all probability have a lot of questions about your rights and obligations.

The website of the Fédération Royale du Notariat Belge will certainly help you in finding the answers.

You can also find useful information on Successions in Europe, Succession law in 27 European countries.

Who is entitled?

Under the Belgian Civilian Law Book (art. 718 and fol.) only blood relatives to the deceased are entitled to benefit e.g. the widow of a pre-deceased brother to the De Cujus will have no claim to the estate.

What about adopted children?

Children officially adopted into a family are treated by law as blood relatives.

How does Genealogy Decuyper gets paid?

It is our habit to work on a fixed fee basis whereby we agree terms with the solicitor who will settle our invoice when the assets have been liquidated (sold).

For international estates, we may proceed on a contingency basis whereby we ask the beneficiaries we find to sign a contract of appointment that permits the solicitors to pay us for the work involved in finding the beneficiaries, compiling reports and submitting claims. Our fee is calculated as a percentage of our client’s net share after all other costs and taxes have been deducted and is paid to us on the same day as our client is paid by the solicitor administering the estate. The fee is only paid out of the beneficiary’s distribution, not out of their personal assets, so the beneficiary will never be out of pocket. If the beneficiary receives nothing, then we receive nothing.

Another company contacted me!

Occasionally (mostly in the UK and the US) when unclaimed estates are publicly advertised, more than one company will locate and approach entitled beneficiaries simultaneously. Both companies will offer their services and with similar terms and conditions. If this happens, we urge you not to sign more than one agreement.

What’s next?

We will compile a fully documented report and transmit it to our commissioner to secure your entitlement. Due to the nature of the process, completion can take a number of months, especially if property needs to be sold.