Think you might have unclaimed money from a deceased relative? Thankfully, there are tips that can assist with this process.
It is important to plan how to claim either money or property once a loved one passes, sources say that there are millions of dollars in unclaimed funds that need to be recovered. In some cases, these are situations where relatives’ deaths were unknown, there are other situations when heirs have not received their complete inheritance. Informing yourself to help you to claim what you deserve is extremely important.
According to CNN, Currently, states, federal agencies and other organizations collectively hold more than $58 billion in unclaimed cash and benefits. Sometimes this unclaimed property happens to be in the loved one’s name and not the heir, often times this requires you to launch a strategic search to find out if there is an inheritance for you. There are various online resources designed to assist individuals looking for missing money or even property after a relative has passed away.
In the absence of wills that dictate what is inherited and to whom, heirs often have to pursue this information on their own. It is important to remember that not all heirs are aware of each other, which presents additional challenges. In the case where you are the only existing heir, you may have to begin a search independently for unclaimed funds.
Let’s take a look at 8 Tips to Recover the Funds that you are due.
1. Confirm that You Are the Heir
In the cases where relatives are notified that their loved ones have died, the process of finding an inheritance is simpler. This is not, however, always the case or is possible without some research. One of the most important parts of the process is confirming whether you are a rightful heir. Depending on the type of inheritance, you may be a joint-heir.
In order to claim funds or property according to the law, you must be able to prove your family connection. Heir birth certificates, for example, maybe all that is needed to show a relation to the deceased.
2. Understand the Dormancy Period
Often there are assets outside of those presented in a will that heirs have a right to claim. These include things like bank accounts, savings accounts, and insurance policies. Depending on the institution that is holding these assets and the state it’s located in, dormancy periods may vary. This is the period of time after death when heirs should stake their claim. In most instances, these assets are sent to a certain escheat division of the state or local government for unclaimed money or property.
3. Launch a Nationwide Search
It is important to launch a nationwide search for inheritances for a number of reasons. Relatives, who have lived in multiple states prior to their death, may have assets in different places. Changes of address play a role here but are not the only reason for expansive searches. Divorce is another example where this is necessary. Searching nationally could result in your finding retirement accounts and even real estate that belonged to your relative.
4. Utilize Searchable Databases
There are national agencies and state entities that provide heirs with searchable databases. These can be utilized to find out more about a relative’s holdings and potential assets belonging to heirs. The Financial Management Service and the U.S. Savings Bond are examples of databases in this category. Along with these heirs should consider the Housing and Urban Development, as well as, the Department of Veterans Affairs.
5. Request a Copy of the Will
Heirs that know their relatives had a will should request a copy. There may be clues in this document about additional assets. This is something that can be done by individual heirs or by a group of family members. The information provided in a will can make this search easier for finding unclaimed segments of the inheritance.
6. Coordinate with Family Members
It’s true that some members of a family are closer than others. Coordinating together can make the search process much easier. This is a good way to understand more about a relative’s estate and holdings. In some cases, these may involve companies, stocks, and various other things that should go to heirs.
7. Learn Relative Details
The more that you know about your relative, the better your search results will be. Distant family members have often grown apart, which is why learning more can be helpful. Details like where they worked, owned homes and traveled to regularly might hold clues about inheritances. This enhances searches by children, nieces, nephews, and other members of the family.
8. Organize Your Search Resources
Many heirs will opt to secure legal representation in order to track down missing money. Those who do not want to pay a lawyer for these services might decide to do so themselves. There are a lot of effective resources and tips that can be used for this type of investigation. Online resources provide relevant information that helps to organize the search for unclaimed property.
Along with these are websites that are designed to assist heirs nationwide with this process. These can be used whether the inheritance happens to be in your name or your relative’s name. Each state has its own procedures when it comes to holding onto these funds. This is the case when inheritances total in the thousands, but certainly when they are in the millions. Loved ones, who have passed away, generally intended their heirs to benefit from this inheritance. This is why unclaimed funds should be discovered.