The internet is an invaluable source when searching for lost assets. The first step is to gather as much information as you can on the decedent – date of birth, date of death, social security number, name of parents and spouse, all addresses or cities/states the person may have lived, etc.
I start with the Unclaimed Funds Division in any state that the decedent lived in. In Ohio the link is http://com.ohio.gov/unfd/treasurehunt.aspx. If the decedent ever lived in another state, I always run a search on www.missingmoney.com, which is a database that covers most states. If your state is not in the database, a simple Google search will lead you to links to other states’ unclaimed funds websites.
Another site that I always check is the U.S. Treasury’s website for savings bonds, www.treasurydirect.gov/TH/THGateway. You’ll need a social security number to use this database, and it only lists bonds that have stopped earning interest, so if there is no listing on the database it is always a good idea to send a letter to the Bureau of Public Debt requesting a search for any savings bonds registered in the decedent’s name.
For Credit Union accounts check www.ncua.gov/Resources/AssetMgmtCenter/Unclaimed.aspx
While searching the decedent’s house did you come across an award from a former employer that has gone out of business? There are 36,000 people on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation’s unclaimed pensions database. You can run a search at www.pbgc.gov.
Was the decedent a veteran or the spouse of a veteran? There may be a life insurance policy thru the Department of Veterans Affairs. You can check at www.insurance.va.gov.
Is it possible that the decedent had a life insurance policy or annuity? If you are the authorized representative of the decedent (Executor/Administrator), the Ohio Department of Insurance will submit a request to all Ohio licensed life insurance companies on your behalf. The search form and instructions can be found here http://www.insurance.ohio.gov/Consumer/Pages/MissingLifeWebpage.aspx. If your decedent ever lived in another state, you should also check with the Department of Insurance in that state to see if they offer a similar service.
What to do if you don’t have the time or inclination to search for possible assets? Hire us to do the searching for you! We offer this service on either an hourly or contingency fee basis. Inquiries can be sent to SomersetHouse@SomersetHouseServices.com .
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