Tips for Locating Property

It is estimated unclaimed inheritance from Wills generates billions in surplus revenue each year. Financial experts claim one of every ten U.S. citizens is entitled to inheritance assets bequeathed to them by deceased relatives. The main reason inheritance assets are unclaimed stems from the beneficiary moving or legally changing their name.

State laws require unclaimed inheritance from Wills be held for a specified period of time before considered legally abandoned. Dormancy periods extend between one and five years and can vary by state and type of assets involved.

When dormancy periods expire unclaimed property is transferred to an escheat; a government property trust account. In 2008, more than $22 billion of unclaimed property was transferred to escheat. Of that amount only $916 million was claimed.

Idaho and Indiana residents should be aware of how escheat laws work in their states. When dormancy periods expire, unclaimed inheritance from wills automatically becomes property of the state. The owner loses all rights to the cash or property and is unable to claim assets once the dormancy period ends.

Much of the unclaimed inheritance from wills stems from life insurance proceeds. When a policyholder dies, their estate is required to contact the issuing company to claim death benefits. If the policy is not mentioned in decedents’ last wills, the estate administrator has no way of knowing the policy exists and the life insurance company has no way of knowing the policyholder has passed away.

Many people are not informed they were named as a beneficiary in a person’s Will. Unless decedents’ protect inheritance assets through a trust, their estate must pass through probate. An estate executor manages the estate and is required to locate missing heirs. If heirs cannot be found, inheritance assets are held by the decedent’s state for the duration of the established dormancy period. This provides heirs time to submit a claim for their inheritance.

Several organizations exist which can help heirs locate unclaimed inheritance. A finder’s fee is typically charged and ranges between 10- to 40-percent of asset value. For example, if an agency located $10,000 in unclaimed inheritance their fee might range between $1,000 to $4,000.

Most states hold unclaimed inheritance from wills through their Department of Revenue. If you think you might be entitled to inheritance assets, use the Internet to conduct research. Start by typing in the name of your state, plus department of revenue. For example, “California Department of Revenue” or “California Revenue Department”.

A trusted resource for locating unclaimed inheritance from wills is the This site provides unclaimed money and inheritance asset resources for all 50 states at no charge.

Locating unclaimed inheritance can take time and definitely requires patience. Individuals who believe they are entitled to significant inheritance property or cash might consider hiring a private detective or professional researcher to help locate property.