When working on an estate where you are the primary beneficiary, it can be worth checking www.missingmoney.com for lost assets. This is a joint website set up by 42 (so far) state unclaimed property agencies to help find missing assets. Just plug in your or your organization’s name and see what pops up. It also offers links to the federal government for unclaimed U.S. savings bonds and links to other countries, states and Canadian provinces.
I’ve lived in the same location for 24 years. I entered in my name and found missing assets I’ll soon get back. I did the same thing for a Sharpe client that has had several physical and mailing addresses. I located 6 unclaimed assets they are now recovering.
This arose recently when our client heard from a firm offering, for a fee, to collect $74,000 from the estate of a deceased woman. For some reason, they had not located the charity and the assets were turned over to the state. This arises when the charity’s name is wrong or the executor somehow missed an asset. As long as you pay nothing until you receive the funds, this can be a smart decision. Some firms want as much as a 50% “finder’s fee,” so do negotiate the fee. Don’t agree until you have checked www.missingmoney.com to make sure that this is not something you can collect on your own. Over the years, I’ve paid this type of finder’s fees many times. It sounds odd, but these can be legitimate firms to work with.
Keep in mind that paying a finder’s fee to collect a gift already made is quite different from paying a finder’s fee to generate a gift.
By John Jensen