The bad news … money and assets are lost and never recovered by loved ones of the departed in a high frequency of estates.
The good news (or at least not so bad news) … the total value of money and assets lost is likely less than $1,000.
Here is the scenario: parents pass away and one or more of the following asset classes are not claimed or marshaled by the Executor or loved ones:
- Accrued and unpaid interest or dividends not paid prior to death;
- Refunds (e.g. utility deposits, tax refunds, cancelled subscriptions);
- Insurance death benefits;
- Co-op patronage refunds (usually due to check being returned as “Not Deliverable” since payment usually occurs years following death).
- Cash is “hidden” in objects that get discarded (e.g. aluminum foil package in freezer, between pages of books; buried coffee can);
- Unknown valuables are donated or sold for significant discount to value (e.g. art, coins, documents, jewelry, antiques, collectibles); and
- Unclaimed reward points (e.g. Marriott rewards, Amex points, frequent flyer miles).
We encourage clients to create a binder containing instructions to Executor and/or loved ones that lists accounts, assets, reward partners, outstanding deposits, insurance policies, and trusted advisers (e.g. CPA, attorney, financial adviser). The lists guidance goes a long way in allowing family members to discover all of the property in marshaling the assets for distribution.
In some cases, there are processes imposed on the holders of unclaimed property. Executors should search the website www.missingmoney.com to capture any funds recorded as unclaimed. In addition, the Executor would just need to forward the mail, carefully review all financial records, and get appraisals for anything not obviously worthless.
If you have any questions on protecting your assets and how this information may apply to you or one of your loved ones please call us at 404-909-8842 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bryson Law Firm: Suwanee, Georgia. Attorney Richard Bryson has over 15 years experience with estate law, elder law, estate planning, probate avoidance, wills and trusts, tax planning, asset protection, personal injury and business formation. Contact our Gwinnett County law firm at 404-909-8842.