Unclaimed Inheritance from Wills are Normally Unreported.
Unclaimed inheritance from Wills creates a surplus of several billion dollars in unclaimed money each year. Millions of Americans do not realize they are entitled to money owed to deceased relatives or money left to them through the decedent's Last Will and Testament.
One of the most looked over unclaimed inheritance from Wills stems from life insurance policies. Most people do not realize that when someone dies, the heirs must notify the insurance company. If heir apparents are unaware of life insurance policies, the issuing company rarely makes an effort to locate beneficiaries
When deceased relatives leave no Will, or their Will has not been updated, their assets are transferred to probate. In many cases, beneficiaries are unaware they have been named in the Will or that the probate court transferred the assets to them. This occurs when beneficiaries named in the Will have also passed away and direct lineage heirs cannot be located.
Recently, an associate discovered he was owed $1678 in unclaimed life insurance benefits. His grandmother passed away five years ago and had named his mother as the beneficiary on her life insurance policy. His mother passed away in 1998 and his grandmother did not update her Will.
One day, his wife decided to search unclaimed money websites and discovered the life insurance was sitting in Georgia's Department of Revenue. By submitting a claim and providing a copy of his grandmother and mother's death certificates, he received his unclaimed inheritance within a few weeks.
Unclaimed assets must be held for a set period of time before they are considered legally abandoned. This is referred to as the 'dormancy period'. Dormancy periods are set by law and vary depending on the type of property involved. Typically, dormancy periods range between one and five years.
Once the dormancy period has elapsed, unclaimed inheritance from Wills must be transferred to a government property trust account. This process is known as 'escheat'. In 2007, more than $22 billion in assets were transferred to escheat. Of that amount, less than $916 million was claimed by heirs. The remainder is still sitting in trust accounts in every state of the nation.
The majority of unclaimed inheritance from Wills stems from unreported changes of address, expired postal forwarding, incomplete or illegible records, and name changes after marriage or divorce. If you have moved or changed your name, the probate court might not be able to locate you to inform you of your inheritance.
There are numerous companies which charge a fee to conduct searches for unclaimed money. However, you can locate unclaimed money through each individual state's Department of Revenue. Simply type in "Unclaimed Money+Name of State" at your favorite search engine to locate the appropriate website.
Another good resource for locating unclaimed inheritance from Wills is The Final Arrangements Network. This website provides a listing of websites for all 50 states and does not charge a fee for the information.
Learn more about probate, inheritance laws, probate attorneys, unclaimed money and more in our comprehensive blog. If you are currently owed money from inheritance held in probate and need cash, contact Simon Volkov today to learn about obtaining cash for inheritance.