Executor / Estate…help

by johnhancock | August 31, 2013 1:32 pm

I was appointed the executor of my late stepfathers affairs. The estate was worth in excess of 2.5 M. I paid out the the heirs partial payments, and the estate was all signed off and settled after 19 months. Last week after all was settled, I received a phone call from a fellow in Phila. A ” Legal Claimant Services Co. ” he claims that his group found an ” unclaimed ” Mutual fund worth $22K. and for a fee of 25 % if I signed forthcoming agreements they would recover for the estate this mutual fund. Of course he was not about to tell me who the fund was. I searched the ( state unclaimed-property sites ) in the states he had lived in, 3 states / 77 yrs. NO luck….does ANYONE have any idea or suggestions about how I might be able to locate this supposed mutual fund to possibly recover the funds. Respectfully John Hancock

Source URL: https://www.stockgumshoe.com/2013/08/microblog-executor-estate-help/

  1. Avatar
    philip wojtalewicz
    Aug 31 2013, 03:19:02 pm

    I would first check recent IRS or state income returns. Hard copy files often have 1099s attached to file copy.
    As executor you should be able to get a printout at IRS. If he was a widower, I would also check IRS under deceased spouse SSN. If computer was used in prep of returns you might check past years files there too. If there were mutual funds in the estate, you should also check with the fund administrator for other funds in the family of funds, also under spouse SSN. You should probably get copies of both death certificates to fax to them. hers will have her SSN.

    If he had broker accounts, they may have sold the fund to him/her.
    Former broker firms should be checked as well if known.

    It is possible that this was IRA or 403b account linked to source, whether bank, annuity company or insurance salesman. That would be next check. If corporate employers in past, you might want to check their family of funds alternatives for corporate plans.
    Note if he did not have mandatory distributions, there would not be 1099s and not entry on the tax return. See also if prior returns show deduction for IRA contribution.

    Finally, money funds may have been paying so little that no 1099 was warranted.
    Check any banks, S&Ls,

    Apart from residence states, there is Delaware, and Boston, and any other place where any of his funds had been managed.

  2. Avatar
    Bud Wood
    Sep 2 2013, 02:25:39 pm

    Is this 22K from your “Step Father’s account” or is it simply an unclaimed fund? If the latter, it may not have anything to do with your Step Father’s legacy. If that’s the case, it sounds that this guy is using you. Any subsequential hassle is not worth 22K when you’re handling 2.4 M.

  3. Avatar
    Sep 2 2013, 04:40:41 pm

    We went through this with my mother’s estate. To tell you the truth after 20+ years I don’t remember the details but we did eventually (after much looking) pay the fee and received the money.
    After diligently searching unsuccessfully in the above mentioned places, I’d probably just pay the fee and write it off to experience.

  4. 38 |
    Don Spiegel
    Sep 3 2013, 02:31:48 am

    There are also a lot of scammers out there from Nigeria and elsewhere that are looking to fleece you out of your money. So be very wary.

  5. Avatar
    Sep 6 2013, 01:37:02 pm

    Sounds like a scam to me . If you cannot find out what they are talking about then I guess agree to let them take out the percent from the funds BUT do not send them any money ahead of time or only after any check they send you has cleared and the money is in your account . NOT just deposited but actually cleared.
    Good luck

  6. Avatar
    Jane Schapka
    Sep 6 2013, 07:19:13 pm

    I both inherited as a child and worked as a record searcher for a similar company, and they are not a scam. Reputable “Heir Searchers” never ask for money from the heirs, and 25% is not a particularly large fee. I have seen 33%. It takes many hours/days of research and original proof documents (all paid for by the searching company before they contact you) to prove that the heirs are the correct persons. If a company approached me, I would not hesitate to sign on as their client, and the contract will state that the heirs do not pay anything at all. It takes time for as many heirs as possible to sign up, so be prepared to wait for the disbursement. A clue that a company is a scam would be if they wanted any money from you — then run! Otherwise, sign on and don’t worry.

  7. Avatar
    Sep 6 2013, 08:58:53 pm

    I misspoke to say we paid a fee. The fee did come out of the money owed. Like I said, after 20 years I am sketchy on the details. But it wasn’t a scam.

  8. Avatar
    Alan Harris
    Sep 7 2013, 10:12:32 am

    So long as you dont pay an upfront fee, and your content that you cant do the research yourself………choose between these 2 statements :
    a/ I’d prefer to lose $16.5k than $5.5k
    b/ Honey, I just found $16.5k down the back of the sofa.
    Personally, Im a ‘glass is 1/2 full’ man.

  9. Avatar
    Alan Harris
    Sep 7 2013, 10:30:42 am

    By the way: I’ll happily buy the rights to this policy from you, so long as you send me details of the finder company first.
    If you lost an uninsured $22k diamond ring, wouldn’t you offer a reward for its safe return ?

  10. Avatar
    Sep 9 2013, 05:37:18 pm

    I got a call like this a few years ago. The heir hunter knew enough about my funny family to make me think she knew what she was talking about. I, my father’s cousin’s daughter, and my father’s other cousin’s five kids would be the heirs of an overlooked account left by my father’s half-cousin, so I stood to get 1/3 of what was supposedly $100K. I had a lot of conversation with the heir hunter, but during the process I found out the name of the deceased’s lawyer, and called him up. He said that they knew all about that account, that it was in her trust, and her trust assets had all been left to the retirement community she lived in for many years before her death. The heir hunter was of course crestfallen to hear this, but I guess it happens all the time. I’m glad I didn’t pursue it any further before finding this out. I did get a benefit from it, however–I knew about the “other” five cousins in theory, but didn’t know who or where they were or anything about them. I got all their names and addresses and contact information from the heir hunter, so now instead of ONE relative, I have SIX! Yay!

  11. Avatar
    Oct 14 2013, 02:21:37 pm

    There are companies that scour the death notices and then check the local State Dept. of Revenue where the deceased lived to find their name or a similar name for unclaimed assets. It’s a scam. You can do the same thing on your own by going online to the state website where you live (i.e., State of Georgia Dept of Revenue, State of NJ Dept of Revenue, etc.), and check on unclaimed assets. These scammers were the subject of a recent news report, where they laid claim to something that actually belonged to others with a similar name, and they were compared to identity theft. My 82-year old mother got a call from one of these companies regarding an abandoned bank account in her late husband’s name (he died 10 years ago) with maybe $2000 in it, and the company would take a percentage in finder’s fees. I went online, did some research, looked in the abandoned/unclaimed assets section of the state dept of revenue website, and there was something there with the same last name, but someone totally different, and completely unrelated. As I went through this process, I remembered I had done this very thing right after he died to double check on any accounts we might not have known about. Unclaimed/abandoned assets/accounts are all pushed up to the state department of revenue for them to find the owners. Takes only the time needed to navigate a particular state’s website.

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