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?
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
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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Family Law Attorney
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
Unclaimed Property Division
See link below:
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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Family Law Attorney
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.
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.
Elder Law Attorney
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.