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Is Legal Claimant Service (a division of Keane) a legitimate company? Should I trust them? Is this a scam?

Chicago, IL |

I received a letter from Legal Claimant Service advising me that they located a mutual fund that belong to my late husband (he passed away almost 10 years ago). Legal Claimant Service specializes in locating accounts that are dormant or in need of attention and reuniting them with the original account owners' proper legal claimant(s).

They told me that the mutual fund is $16,000, and they will keep 25% for the recovery fee up front. I will get 50% and my late husband's two children will get 25% each.

They will mail me a form agreement to indicate my acceptance of this arrangement. I have to sign my name and give my social security number. Also, I will have the form notarized by a notary public. This same form agreement will be sent to my husband's two children.

I really don't want to give out my social security number. Does the company need it to identify me?

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

Oh boy. Scams like this are rampant! Contact the Attorney General's office. They may have information about this. I really believe this is a scam. They will want you to deposit the check (which will be phony but look so good that banks cannot even tell) and ask you to pay their 25% out of the account.

DO NOT COMMUNICATE FURTHER WITH THEM UNTIL CONTACTING the Attorney General's office. You stand to lose money if this is a scam, which I believe it is. I had a similar situation happen personally, and after research I found it was a big scam.

IF YOU FOUND THIS ANSWER HELPFUL PLEASE MARK IT SO. This information is provided by PEGGY M. RADDATZ, Attorney At Law as a pro bono service. YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY IN PERSON who has specific expertise in the area of law you are asking about.

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Asker

Posted

Thanks Peggy... I will contact the Attorney General's office.

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

Good!

Deborah Louise Mahoney

Deborah Louise Mahoney

Posted

It is not a scam; I have worked with them. However, now that you know there is unclaimed property in your husband's, go the the SOS unclaimed property division.

Asker

Posted

Hello Deborah - I checked the SOS unclaimed property division, and there is no unclaimed property in my husband's name. I guess I have no choice of recovering the money other than working with Legal Claimant Services. They mailed me an agreement form to sign. Also, I need to get a certified original copy of my husband's death certificate. Should I trust them in getting the money back? Should I get a lawyer to look over the agreement form befoe I sign them? Thanks. Shirley Do you su You

Deborah Louise Mahoney

Deborah Louise Mahoney

Posted

You should have a lawyer. They do recover the money. Is it possible that he had money in another state? With mutual funds, the asset does not go to unclaimed division for a while. Since it has been 10 years, I would check your tax returns and if he had a financial adviser, check there also.

Posted

It looks legit. You might want to ask them for more identifying information before giving over information.

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Posted

A person who discovers that there may be unclaimed funds or property may always check with the Illinois State Treasurer's office where there may be a record.

100 West Randolph, Suite 15-600
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312-814-1700

Unclaimed Property Division
Phone: 217-785-6998

See link below:

http://www.treasurer.il.gov/

The information provided here should not be construed to be formal legal advice. The provision of this general advice does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Persons with legal questions are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

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Asker

Posted

Barry - I checked the Illinois Sate Tresurer's office for many years after my husband passed away, but I there were no unclaimed funds.

Asker

Posted

Barry - I checked all of the websites (that you recommended) for unclaimed property and didn't see any account for my last husband. I researched Legal Claimant Services on the internet and checked the Better Business Bureau. The company seem to be OK. Should I trust them and work with them to get the money from late husband's mutal fund? Do I really have to give them my social security #? Thanks.

Posted

To my fellow attorneys on Avvo: This may be a dumb question, but it’s late and I've have a long day. After reading this post and the responses, I kept wondering why the Poster would need to go through Legal Claimant Service to recover the mutual fund. Twenty-five percent off the top is a pretty hefty fee. Also, if the split is 50:25:25, it seems that there's no will and the late husband's mutual fund is being divided up by rules of intestate succession.

Why is Legal Claimant Services in this picture?

I'm curious for my own knowledge, but I'm if I'm onto something, I'm sure the Poster would like to know. And now that I've raised the issue, please correct me if I'm way off base or missing something as well.

Thanks.

My responses to posts on AVVO are not legal advice, nor do they create an attorney-client relationship. In order to provide true (and reliable) legal advice, an attorney must be able to ask questions of the person seeking legal advice and to thus gather the appropriate information. In order for an attorney-client relationship to exist, you and I both have to agree the the terms of such an agreement.

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Posted

I didn't go through Legal Claimant Service. They sent me a letter advising me that they located an account that belong to my late husband. Then I called the service, and was advised me that it was a mutual fund which is to be split between (3) people. I never heard of Legal Claimant Services. My husband died without a will.

Asker

Posted

My husband lived in Kansas, because his work took him there. He was going to move gack to Chicago after he retire. I checked the unclaimed funds in Kansas and Illinois for a few years after my husband passed away, but it doesn't show any record of any accounts under my husband name.

Asker

Posted

In order to the the money, my husband's son/daughter and I have to sign an agreement accepting this deal. We have to give out our social security # and have the agreement notify by a notary public. Should I trust Legal Claimant Service????? What would you do???? Thanks.

Barry Cahn Boykin

Barry Cahn Boykin

Posted

Go to The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) According to NAUPA, "There are many businesses, sometimes called finders or locators, which find legitimate lost property for owners and offer to inform them of how to obtain it for a fee, usually a percentage of the total (some states limit the fee to 10 percent). Sometimes, companies will hire these firms to find you before they turn the funds over to the state. Ultimately the finder will ask you to sign a contract. The majority of firms that provide these services work within the law, but there are also many unclaimed property scams across the United States. Before signing any contract from a firm of this type, we recommend that you be cautious and contact the unclaimed property office in your state for more information." See link below to NAUPA http://www.unclaimed.org/what/

Posted

I do not know if Legal Claimant Service is a legitimate company, but these types of companies are legitimate. To determine if this company is legitimate, contact your State Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Division.

This type of company is very common in probate with unknown heirs. What they are selling effectively is information. They know where an asset is that you have a claim regarding, but they will only tell you if you hire them. Some types of assets are easier to find than others. If you know the individual resided their whole life in a particular county and state, finding the probate action or unclaimed property with the state yourself and saving the 25% is not difficult. However, if the decedent resided in numerous locations or was a distant relative, it is more difficult.

Before signing up with the company, you could try to search for the information on the web or hire someone to do an Accurint or other database type search for an hourly fee. Companies such as these do not have any special inside information; they get their information because it has been published somewhere, and they tracked you down. Generally, the more aggressively they are trying to sign you up, the easier the asset would be to find. Good Luck.

Disclaimer. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as specific legal advice, further is not intended and it does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship between The Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates and any recipients. No recipient of this answer should act or refrain from acting on the basis of this answer without seeking the appropriate legal advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient's state. Under Illinois ethical rules answers to questions might be considered as advertisement and therefore please consider the answer to the question is ADVERTISING MATERIAL.

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Posted

Thank you for the information

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