How to find the heirs of a debtor

Should a debtor pass away without settling his debts, the creditor has no choice but to seek out the heirs as debts are inherited together with the assets of the deceased. However, this in itself will not ensure the collection of debt, as any inheritance must first be accepted by the heirs, who may choose not to do so if debts are involved.

In order to track an heir, it is first important to identify those entitled to the inheritance, which isn’t always easy as their personal details are often reported incorrectly in the will. In these cases, it is necessary to search for information both from private and confidential sources and from public sources such as registers, records offices and public offices in general. For example, we investigate Chamber of Commerce searches/deeds, real estate deeds and events relating to bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings.

The data thus obtained is then cross-checked with other, unofficial data, such as that resulting from local enquires, with the aim of putting together a final dossier providing all the information concerning the identification of those entitled to an inheritance. Often, we also need to check the financial and capital solidity of the heirs, which is ascertained through dedicated intelligence activities to check whether they work or are retired, whether they have any real estate or corporate shareholdings, and whether they have protests or other insolvency proceedings against them.

All information tracking activities must be carried out in full compliance with the Privacy regulations, providing special guarantees and envisaging methods of collecting, storing and processing personal data that satisfy the principle of “ius excludendi alios” (the right of the data subject to oppose any interference by outsiders). Ponzi SpA is familiar with all the regulations in this regard, which it observes when tracking down the heirs of a deceased person, delivering comprehensive files that are also usable in court.

Once those entitled to an inheritance have been located and found, they have 10 years to accept the inheritance as a whole, including both assets and debts; if the inheritance is refused or if the 10-year period lapses, the inheritance goes directly to the State.

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