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Old 12-07-2020, 11:37 AM   #1
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Has anyone done business with a company called Asset Finders? They sent me a letter claiming they found a bank account under my fatherís name with $1,200 in it. My father passed away in 2014. I wasnít aware there was still money in the account. I spoke with the woman who sent me a letter and she told me her fee to help with the collection of the money is 10%, which seems extremely reasonable.

Is there any reason to be concerned here?
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Old 12-07-2020, 11:39 AM   #2
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Has anyone done business with a company called Asset Finders? They sent me a letter claiming they found a bank account under my fatherís name with $1,200 in it. My father passed away in 2014. I wasnít aware there was still money in the account. I spoke with the woman who sent me a letter and she told me her fee to help with the collection of the money is 10%, which seems extremely reasonable.

Is there any reason to be concerned here?
Before proceeding with them, have you checked the state database for unclaimed assets? I think every state has them and you can usually just google to find yours. I don't think there is ever a fee to make a claim. I would think that the asset finder might just be cultivating that database and contacting people.
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Old 12-07-2020, 11:39 AM   #3
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Try missingmoney.com and do it yourself. DS had to jump through some hoops but eventually got about $1,000 back from the state of NJ- some small bank accounts and unclaimed dividends checks belonging to his late father.
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Old 12-07-2020, 11:41 AM   #4
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+1... try missing money and the state websites for each state that your dad lived in during his life and you should find it.
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Old 12-07-2020, 11:42 AM   #5
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Before proceeding with them, have you checked the state database for unclaimed assets? I think every state has them and you can usually just google to find yours. I don't think there is ever a fee to make a claim. I would think that the asset finder might just be cultivating that database and contacting people.
Agree with the above comment. Zero fees, at least in my state, and safe.
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Old 12-07-2020, 11:46 AM   #6
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I have not tried the free options, but I have another issue complicating the situation. My father passed away without a will or trust. He was divorced. So his heirs would be myself and my sister. Which presents the real problem here.

I have not heard from my sister since he passed away. I don’t know where she lives nor have any contact information for her. But she is entitled to half of the money. So I provided her last known contact information to the investigator at Asset Finders to see if she can locate her.

I figure if she can do that she has more than earned her $120 fee, and it will give me some peace of mind to know that my sister is OK, even if we have no relationship at this point.
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Old 12-07-2020, 12:26 PM   #7
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I guess the woman will ask you to pay her the $10% fees first before she starts the process, and then you will never hear from her again after that.
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Old 12-07-2020, 02:53 PM   #8
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Well, I think the first step is to try to verify whether or not there is money to be had and you can do that in 10 minutes.

If there is, then you can apply as "executor" or as an heir and then give you sis her half if and when you ever hear from her again.
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Old 12-07-2020, 04:19 PM   #9
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My Ex also died without a will. DS had to file an Affidavit of Small Estate- I believe it was with NJ, where the assets were, rather than FL, where he died. I'm sure the Ex had a negative net worth so there was no need to probate the estate. DS was an only child but I helped him on the paperwork and don't remember anything that would have required him to name or track down any siblings.
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Old 12-07-2020, 04:25 PM   #10
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I think states are required to hold unclaimed (escheated) property, so thereís no great hurry to move.

[ADDED] Youíll want some proof of identity/address, like old utility bills or statements.
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Old 12-07-2020, 06:42 PM   #11
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I guess the woman will ask you to pay her the $10% fees first before she starts the process, and then you will never hear from her again after that.
She said I only owe her the money if they collect. If the story changes I will of course discontinue my conversations with her.

I haven't spoken to my sister for about four years now. She used to post stuff on Facebook and other social media sites several times a day. When I google search her I can't find any activity at all under her name. I would like to know if she is still alive. So if this private investigator wants to make an effort to find her and work on a contingency to earn $120 I have no problem at all letting her make the first effort.

So in a sort of weird way I'm using this opportunity to let a private investigator try to "find" my sister, even though her main goal is to recover my late father's unclaimed assets.
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Old 12-07-2020, 07:27 PM   #12
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So in a sort of weird way I'm using this opportunity to let a private investigator try to "find" my sister, even though her main goal is to recover my late father's unclaimed assets.
There are some web sites such as spokeo.com that will find addresses for $9.95 for a one-month subscription (and they did charge me only for the one month). I was able to track down a property owner in our HOA who had moved to FL and rented out her house (violation of the Restrictions). OTOH, I tried them to track down DH's estranged sister in the months before he died and all we got were addresses he knew were obsolete. He said she may have moved in with one of her kids.

For $9.95 it might be worth a shot.
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Old 12-07-2020, 09:21 PM   #13
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There are some web sites such as spokeo.com that will find addresses for $9.95 for a one-month subscription (and they did charge me only for the one month). I was able to track down a property owner in our HOA who had moved to FL and rented out her house (violation of the Restrictions). OTOH, I tried them to track down DH's estranged sister in the months before he died and all we got were addresses he knew were obsolete. He said she may have moved in with one of her kids.

For $9.95 it might be worth a shot.
Yes, I've tried those websites and they all provide old addresses which I know are no longer valid. Wherever she is, she is really off the grid right now.
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Old 12-07-2020, 11:49 PM   #14
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Try missingmoney.com and do it yourself. DS had to jump through some hoops but eventually got about $1,000 back from the state of NJ- some small bank accounts and unclaimed dividends checks belonging to his late father.
I just used that site, and sent an email to a relative telling him, he must be rich as he is leaving 2 pots of money behind.
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Old 12-08-2020, 08:24 AM   #15
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I found the money on missinmoney.com and filled out a claim form. However, on the form I see the following text:

6. If the estate is closed, attach a probate court order identifying the heir(s), together with any additional information needed to identify the heir(s) or the relative interests in the unclaimed property of the heir(s). Normally, a copy of the probated will, petition for discharge, order of discharge, and a copy of docket sheet will sufficiently satisfy this requirement. In some cases, an order of distribution will be required by this office. If the estate was not probated, you may wish to contact the probate court to see if you are eligible to make application for disposition of personal property without administration.

My father died without a will or trust so there was never any probate. Do I need to contact the probate court here or just send in the form as is? Also, do I represent myself as the only heir or am I required to document my sister as a second heir, which only complicates things further because I have no way of contacting her to get her signature.
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Old 12-08-2020, 08:37 AM   #16
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Not a lawyer, but unless the size of the estate was less than your state's small estate level, even if there is no will probate would be required. Any assets that had were jointly owned by you and your father, owned by him but had designated beneficiaries, were TOD or POD would not be probated and would not be included in deciding the small estate exemption.

So I'm guessing that perhaps your father's estate fell under the small estate exemption. If so, I wonder if you could just include an explanation to that effect and if that statement, along with a death certificate, would be sufficient. You might call their office, explain the situation (leaving your sister out of it) and ask.

Since sister is a ghost, I would leave her out of it for now... if you ever get the money then you can hold 1/2 of it aside for her.
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Old 12-08-2020, 09:00 AM   #17
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Not a lawyer, but unless the size of the estate was less than your state's small estate level, even if there is no will probate would be required. Any assets that had were jointly owned by you and your father, owned by him but had designated beneficiaries, were TOD or POD would not be probated and would not be included in deciding the small estate exemption.

So I'm guessing that perhaps your father's estate fell under the small estate exemption. If so, I wonder if you could just include an explanation to that effect and if that statement, along with a death certificate, would be sufficient. You might call their office, explain the situation (leaving your sister out of it) and ask.

Since sister is a ghost, I would leave her out of it for now... if you ever get the money then you can hold 1/2 of it aside for her.
Yes, all of his money was held in one account with a TOD on it so there was no probate. I will give your suggestion a try though, thanks!
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Old 12-28-2020, 08:25 PM   #18
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Wanted to update this thread since everyone was so helpful.

I never heard back from the woman at Asset Finders so I assume she lost interest.

I heard from a cousin who I speak to once or twice a year and I asked her if she had heard from my sister. She said she hadnít heard from her for a couple of years but another cousin of ours may have stayed in touch. She gave me the contact info for this cousin, who I have not spoken to in 40 years.

I reached out to the cousin and connected. We caught up on whatís been going on in our lives for the past 40 years. She said she had not heard from my sister in over a year but would reach out to her.

About a week later I got a call from my sister. She moved, and has a new boyfriend. She apparently doesnít have an email address nor a cell phone but she called on the boyfriendís cell. I was only able to talk to her for a few minutes because the boyfriend kept interrupting and I could barely hear anything they were saying, but I got his email address so I could stay in touch.

As for the money, I was able to find the money on missingmoney.com. Thanks to Athena53 for point me to that website. I printed out the claim form and sent it to my sister to review and sign it. Once she sends it back to me Iíll send it in and see what happens.

It was good to find out my sister is OK and has found someone to live with. Perhaps in the future we will connect and have another conversation, but at least I know she is still alive.
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