FAQ - Probate/Estate

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FAQ - probate/estate Investigative Services

What experience does your agency have with probate/estate/guardianship cases?
 We have assisted counsel in litigation since 2001, and our investigators have conducted hundreds of interviews, testified at depositions, hearings, and trials. We have located hidden assets, including real estate, personal and business property. We utilize databases and “open source” sites to locate family members and identify heirs and surviving family members. Our investigators are skilled at developing information regarding possible conflicts of interest and “undue influence.” Since probate and guardianship cases usually involve immediate members of the family, trusted advisors and close friends, the investigator should be highly competent so as not to appear threatening or biased during the interview. We accomplish these challenging interviews with respect for the witness or family member, and our reports carefully document both the information provided by the witness, and the demeanor of the witness during the interview.
What services does your agency provide to probate/estate/guardianship attorneys?
See “Attorney Services-Probate/Estate
What does it cost to have your agency do an investigation?
The “cost” of an investigation is hard to quantify, since the “cost” rarely factors in the results or “return on investment.” The following is an example of the “cost” of an investigation and the subsequent return on investment (ROI): A client wanted to determine if her husband had purchased real estate using income from his job as an auto mechanic. She was concerned about a $1,500 retainer for the investigation, but made the decision to go forward. Our research disclosed that the husband had purchased three lots in two different counties for cash. He had also purchased a single-family home, which he was renting in one of the counties, and had sold another single-family home for a $50,000 profit the year before. Research also identified a one-third interest in his parents’ home in Boca Raton, Florida, worth about $300,000, never disclosed to the client. The lots were valued at $90,000; the single-family home still owned by the husband had about $60,000 in equity; the client was entitled to half the profit of the home sold the prior year ($25,000); and she was possibly entitled to half the one-third interest in the parents’ home ($50,000) as a “marital asset.” The client’s $1,500 resulted in a return of $150,000, or a 10,000% return on investment (ROI). In cases where more significant assets may be involved, the return could be much higher.
How does your agency differ from other investigators?
Rather than a single investigator trying to do everything, from conducting interviews, locating records, and preparing reports, Complete Legal Investigations, Inc., utilizes a “team” approach. Our field investigators conduct interviews and surveillance, our researchers obtain documents and records, and our transcribers prepare reports. We work closely with a forensic accountant and business appraisers when complex financial transactions and significant assets are involved. This gives us the ability to quickly complete assignments and provide our clients with thorough and relevant results. Utilizing a team approach provides our agency with economies of scale not available to sole operatives and allows us to pass on the cost savings to our clients.
Can you guarantee I will win my case?
“Results can never be guaranteed in an investigation, which often involves the search for the unknown or the non-existent.”1 But failure to investigate can only lead to frustration, uncertainty, and suspicion. We cannot guarantee you will “win” your case; neither can your attorney. What we guarantee you as our client is that your case will receive our full attention, expertise, and diligence, and that we will provide timely, accurate, and verified information to your attorney as he or she represents you.

1. Don C. Johnson, CLI CII, Corporate Investigations, Second Edition, Lawyers & Judges Publishing Co., 2005, page 286