Q: My cousin died in NV without a will, only relatives are cousins. We were contacted by probate research firms.
I understand that the estate would have to go through probate and that an attorney is advisable. How is it that research firms get involved? Are they assigned by the County or State, or do they pursue heirs based on their research of County death records for their own interests? Do you advise the use of a research firm (who charges a 15% cut after the estate's obligations are paid) or can the process be handled without one? I don't know my cousin's family history all that well.
A: If you can determine where the asset is w/o a "research firm" you don't need to pay them. The Las Vegas (Clark County) probate judge does not approve of fees over 10% to a research firm. You can Google around until you get to the State Treasurer's unclaimed property website. There may even be a county website for unclaimed property. If you can locate the assets that way you don't need to pay a "research firm." Either way, you will need a lawyer to do the estate's probate if the amount of money is over $25,000.
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