PSA-Missing Money

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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Cigarman
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PSA-Missing Money

Post by Cigarman »

Bear with me. My mother passed in early 2021. My brother, went to five siblings, was the executor and did everything to the letter of the law. So occasionally, I check my family name, which is rather unusual, to see if there is any money floating around. About 15 years ago I found close to $1500 for my mother and her forgotten bank account.

So about a week ago I went online and check my family name. bottom line is they were two accounts in Wells Fargo but it turned over to the state of Michigan. Online it said they were both above $250 and I went ahead and applied for the money. Much to my surprise it was more like $95,000. Well my brother, as executor, had distributed all the monies in my mothers estate apparently she had forgotten about these two accounts. My father had passed at 93 and her at 90 so it’s unexpected that they may have forgotten about these.

Well my parents have done everything to set up trust and wills somehow the slip through the cracks. I forwarded to my brother to go ahead and apply for the money but as a bigger picture everybody should do a search and missing money or unclaimed.org just to be safe. The really weird part is the estate was settled in the middle of June of this year and we had gotten a letter from the attorney saying all the accounts were settled in the estate was closed. This was distributed to the state of Michigan at the end of June 2022. You just never know
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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. »

yeah, my mom thought she had received all money from prior real estate (sheriff's sales), but lo and behold, a number of years later there was anoher $26,000 waiting for her. She bought a car with those proceeds I helped her get.

https://unclaimed.org/what-is-unclaimed-property/
www.missingmoney.com
https://www.usa.gov/unclaimed-money
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IowaFarmWife
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by IowaFarmWife »

I just checked the sites and I found two family members on the list. Thanks for the PSA! :happy
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finite_difference
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by finite_difference »

Is it worth claiming if the amount is under $100? How much work is it?
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anon_investor
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by anon_investor »

finite_difference wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 9:28 pm Is it worth claiming if the amount is under $100? How much work is it?
Depends on the state. I have helped some relatives claim as little as $25 at some states that just required submitting an online claim (needed to upload a copy of current drivers license).
ModifiedDuration
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by ModifiedDuration »

A few years ago, I found two items - one for my wife and one for my brother-in-law, about $250 in total.

Today, due to your reminder, I just found two items for my old college roommate who had visited last week.

Thanks!
Last edited by ModifiedDuration on Thu Aug 04, 2022 7:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
andypanda
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by andypanda »

Ten years ago my name turned up twice on the Virginia list. As I recall it, I sent in a form, copy of driver's license, etc. and waited to see how much I had coming.

The first check was $1.
The second was $2.

Still no idea who owed it to me.
OnTrack2020
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by OnTrack2020 »

Goodness, I found one for my father who passed away close to 2 decades ago.
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Kenkat
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by Kenkat »

I would also add that if you are helping with an older relative, try to convince them to sit down with you and go over all of their accounts while they are still able and of sound (enough) mind to do so. Make a list of everything and save it somewhere safe.

My father in law was meticulous and on top of anything financial for most of his life, but we could tell he was becoming forgetful and while he was a private person, we finally convinced him to let us go through everything with him. Towards the end of life, I remember him being upset that there was only $20,000 left in the bank account and that they were almost out of money. I said, “well dad, you’ve got a quarter million in a Fidelity IRA still so you are fine”. He’d forgotten it.
123
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by 123 »

Among the older crowd (many now deceased), many of whom bought whole life insurance policies with face values of $10,000 or less in the 1930's - 1960'a, there are a lot of unclaimed property entries that resulted from the demutualization of a number of life insurance companies. Companies that demutualized included many of the "biggies" Prudential, John Hancock, MetLife, and others. The demutualization gave shares in the new company to policy holders (a separate transaction from anything to do with the life insurance policy itself). In many cases those shares could not be delivered due to address issues. So if you have had older relatives (most of whom may now be deceased) who may have had such a policy it could be interesting to look them up in the state unclaimed property records (check all states where they resided). In California the value of the demutualization to the policy holder could have been typically $3K - $5K, it could exceed the face value of the policy it was related to.
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crre
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by crre »

thank you! found unclaimed property of my mother's, who died over 15 years ago, and unclaimed property of my grandparents, who died in the 1980's!
lstone19
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by lstone19 »

It’s much easier to do while the owner is still alive, at least in Illinois. Both my MIL (passed two years ago - my wife is trustee of her trust and executor) and FIL (passed over ten years ago - all to my MIL’s trust) left small amounts that have turned up in unclaimed property searches. Total is about $700 and would be split across my wife and her six living siblings. We’ve decided it’s not worth the effort for a net $100 to us as just to start, someone needs to go the county clerk and get certified copies of both wills. Then there will be plenty of other paperwork and then likely to be follow-up as something will not be quite right. Illinois claims they want to get the money back to you but for those who have died, they don’t make it easy for the beneficiaries to claim it.
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Elsebet
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by Elsebet »

Thanks for posting this! Did not find anything for myself, but found a small account for my husband.
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fposte
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by fposte »

lstone19 wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 3:16 pm It’s much easier to do while the owner is still alive, at least in Illinois. Both my MIL (passed two years ago - my wife is trustee of her trust and executor) and FIL (passed over ten years ago - all to my MIL’s trust) left small amounts that have turned up in unclaimed property searches. Total is about $700 and would be split across my wife and her six living siblings. We’ve decided it’s not worth the effort for a net $100 to us as just to start, someone needs to go the county clerk and get certified copies of both wills. Then there will be plenty of other paperwork and then likely to be follow-up as something will not be quite right. Illinois claims they want to get the money back to you but for those who have died, they don’t make it easy for the beneficiaries to claim it.
Yes, I'm in Illinois, the will was processed in Ohio, and the addresses listed on the unclaimed products aren't on any available paperwork anymore. I poke at the site every now and then but I don't think I'm going to put the work in to manage a claim.
lstone19
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by lstone19 »

fposte wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 6:46 pm
lstone19 wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 3:16 pm It’s much easier to do while the owner is still alive, at least in Illinois. Both my MIL (passed two years ago - my wife is trustee of her trust and executor) and FIL (passed over ten years ago - all to my MIL’s trust) left small amounts that have turned up in unclaimed property searches. Total is about $700 and would be split across my wife and her six living siblings. We’ve decided it’s not worth the effort for a net $100 to us as just to start, someone needs to go the county clerk and get certified copies of both wills. Then there will be plenty of other paperwork and then likely to be follow-up as something will not be quite right. Illinois claims they want to get the money back to you but for those who have died, they don’t make it easy for the beneficiaries to claim it.
Yes, I'm in Illinois, the will was processed in Ohio, and the addresses listed on the unclaimed products aren't on any available paperwork anymore. I poke at the site every now and then but I don't think I'm going to put the work in to manage a claim.
You had to remind me. I forgot some of that $700 (which I should have said would be a GROSS $100 to us, not net as there will be expenses in getting what the state wants, is from my wife's deceased sister (over 10 years since death). Sister died intestate, some of the unclaimed property is from an address previous to her last, and we have no paperwork for even the most recent address. Truly appears to be a large rathole we do not want to go down.
SVT
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by SVT »

Can someone explain to me the reasons money would be owed to someone? I found my father for property owned by the state. What are some examples? Plenty in this thread are mentioning times they were owed money, or someone they know but most aren't mentioning why. I've never heard of this.

ETA: OK nevermind, I read one of the links above about what is unclaimed property. Thanks.
tj
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by tj »

crre wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 1:36 pm thank you! found unclaimed property of my mother's, who died over 15 years ago, and unclaimed property of my grandparents, who died in the 1980's!
How much effort is involved to collect funds that were owed to your relative?
crre
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by crre »

How much effort is involved to collect funds that were owed to your relative?
two relatives, and two different states. in one state, everything could be done online, and as i had all of the necessary documentation, submitting a request was fairly easy. i got an automated response that actually processing the claim could take quite a while.

regarding the other state, i am waiting to hear back from them regarding the documentation that they require. apparently it will have to be done by mail.
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nisiprius
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by nisiprius »

This is why I continue to insist on the value of not voluntarily opting for e-statements but continuing to receive mailed, paper statements if there's a choice. For about a year they'll get properly forwarded, and they definitely can alert survivors to the existence of assets.

I had to deal with unclaimed property listed on the website for the state of New York. The process was somewhat laborious but straightforward. I just followed the steps, step by step, forget what all they were.

The worst glitch was that in order to claim it, they needed something from the probate court to prove all fees had been paid. It turned out that we'd failed to dot some i's and cross some t's. We'd paid all the fees but they wouldn't issue the paper to prove it until we filled out some forms and sent some documents.

The annoyance was that, at least in New York State, there seemed to no way to find out what the amount was other than to successfully claim it. At some point we learned that it was pay from a university. In the end, the amount involved was about $150. The deceased had given a talk and received an honorarium. The whole process took over six months (but this was in at the peak of the pandemic when all government offices were chaotic). Borderline as to whether it was worth the effort.
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tj
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by tj »

crre wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:21 am
How much effort is involved to collect funds that were owed to your relative?
two relatives, and two different states. in one state, everything could be done online, and as i had all of the necessary documentation, submitting a request was fairly easy. i got an automated response that actually processing the claim could take quite a while.

regarding the other state, i am waiting to hear back from them regarding the documentation that they require. apparently it will have to be done by mail.
What sort of documentation was necessary for the easy one?
crre
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Re: PSA-Missing Money

Post by crre »

What sort of documentation was necessary for the easy one?
quite extensive documentation, but i had it all as i was the executor of the estate. they needed letters testamentary, death certificate, proof of association with the address associated with the unclaimed property, two forms of id, a couple of other things that i had.

interestingly, i have since found another piece of unclaimed property, a bank account of my mother's joint with her parents from the 1940's. thankfully, that state requires only death certificates and a few other pieces of documentation which i can easily rustle up. if they had required letters testamentary for my grandparents i would be stuck. surprisingly there is enough money in the account to make it worth the time and expense. if only it had been invested all that time.
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