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Ask Dave

Probate Research Company Deal

Is the probate research company that called Steve a scam or con, or are they serious in their offer?

QUESTION: Steve was contacted by a probate research company, and told him he is heir to some property. They want to help him recover what is due to him for 1/3 the cost of what he makes. There are about 20 heirs in this. Is he liable to any creditors of the estate if he signs the contingency agreement, and is this a reasonable arrangement?

ANSWER: You are not liable to creditors when you sign, unless the document says you are, so double check before you sign. That’s not an unusual finder’s fee. A lot of these are about $300. It’s very possible that this whole thing is on the up and up. But I’m always very wary of free money and things that come in out of left field. If this is a scam, they might give you a little more information and get you hooked before setting the bait. At that point, they’ll hit you with a fee or something, and that’s a total con. If they snake you along and then try to hit you with a fee, jump in there and ruin it for everybody.

This sounds legitimate, but be careful. Make sure you understand everything that you sign. But go ahead and move forward with it.