Occupational profile

In Germany for more than 100 years heir finders are busy with the search of unknown heirs and in in particular with the complete certified documentation of the relationship of the identified hereditary pretenders.
Originally, the search of unknown heirs went back to the emigrants who passed overseas and whose heirs had to be found in the "old native country".
To the present day the heir finders in Germany are busy intensivly with the subject of the expulsion during and after the World War II, because there are many kinship relations, which trace back to the former German eastern territories.
Besides a growing anonymous society until now leads to a raising need in heir finding, in particular in conurbations and cities.

Heir finder are engaged by probate courts, curators of estates, estate administrators in absentia or lawyers and notary publics or, however, also by heir communities, in which the whereabouts of lone coheirs are unsettled or the proof of succession is complicated (e.g., because of missing certificates).

Basis of the heir finding in Germany is in most cases the legal succession which is abstract reputed endless in temporal tracing, but it finds its bounds in the proof by certificates or church register entries, because the documentary proof of the legal claim is a basic component of the argumentation in succession procedure and therefore also the basis of the heir finder`s work is, isn't it.

Also the successsion according to so-called last will (testament and contract of inheritance) can be a subject of the heir's inquiry if the benefited heirs are not traceable (e.g., with older testaments).

The genealogical and historical element of heir finding forms a significant part of the heir finder's professional day. At this heir finders often fall back on extensive own archives and sources. The exact knowledge of public and private bundles of papers, registry office documents and local residents' registration documents as well as parishes are likewise necessary.

In addition, extensive business knowledge, a high degree of mobility and intensive travel activity as well as the knowledge of foreign languages, the reading of old writings, outstanding staying power with often long-standing searches as well as a network of correspondents in at home and abroad are necessary to keep on the market.

The contingency fee due by success is to be paid by the until now unknown heirs according to a previous concluded agreement amounts to 30% of the inheritance plus legal valid value added tax according to estate at home depending on the value of the estate and the complexity of the research. In cases involving a foreign element or foreign estate cases there is a higher percentages possible.
The heir findern who are organized within the scope of the VDEE work basically on the basis of a contingency fee and for the purposes of a well-arranged businessman.
Because of the remuneration on success is the intrinsic value of an estate of vital significance for the economic efficiency of a heir finding. Whe a heir finder contacts potential heirs then can be assumed, that it concerns a recoverable positive inheritance.

Within the scope of the death tax the costs of the heir finding have an effect of a tax reduction. The costs of the heir finding are accepted by the tax office as estate regulation costs.

Newcomer in this occupational field should dispose of a comfortably and extensive nest egg, because the handling of a case is often very complicated and requires financial and temporal service in advance. From placing an order up to payment of the fee my absolutely also pass several years. However, the risk of success has exclusively the heir finder. If a heir finder cannot establish heirs (because of missing certificates), so the charges are for his account.

In some lone cases heir finder companies become active on the basis of freely agreed flat-rate fees or time fees. In such cases there are mostly the clarifying of skinship relations or the obtaining of certified documents in the foreground.

Here on the homepage you will find first answers to frequently asked questions about inheritance.

Concerning actual vacancies you can inform on the Internet websites of our member companies.

Verband Deutscher Erbenermittler (VDEE®) e.V. Kyffhäuserstr. 11 10781 Berlin
Tel.: 030 - 246 251 62 Fax: 030 - 246 251 63 E-Mail: mail@vdee-ev.de