Unclaimed property...state has unknown person as beneficary!

Asked over 2 years ago - Monument, CO

Found an uncashed, outdated (by almost 6 years) 36,000 cashiers check in my deceased moms' name only. I was her only child and was also on the bank account the check was drawn from. It was turned over to the state treasury (Michigan). Called them, they had a property number and all was verified EXCEPT the beneficary was a person neither Mom nor ever heard of (until now)!! How the heck did a random stranger become sole beneficary when I was her only child and also on the account with her?? What do I do now to try and recover this property?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Michael S. Haber

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you are the executor or administrator of the estate, you will have the authority necessary to go to the bank that issued the check and get copies of the documents your mom signed at the time she opened the account and any beneficiary designation that your mom thereafter executed. That should either confirm that you are correct that the beneficiary on the account was indeed a "random stranger" or that your mom intentionally designated that person as a beneficiary. If that person's name does not appear on the bank documents, then you should provide copies of the documents to the agency that handles unclaimed property in your state.

    You may wish to consult with a local attorney.

    Good luck to you.

    Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are... more
  2. Steven J. Fromm

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Mr Haber as always provides sound advice and strategies to solve a problem. The point here is that this could very well be a fraudulent situation. In any event, you need real proof as to such fraud, so Mr. Haber has laid out the plan to get at the true facts. Get on this right away and consider having an estates attorney assist you.

    Hope this helps.

    Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

    Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website for more tax, estate and business articles is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia... more
  3. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I am not sure that the bank if where you need to go on this. My guess is that the bank is completely off the hook, once they distribute the property to the state. In my opinion, you need to work with the Michigan Treasury Department to determine what has taken place here, and whether there is any recourse. Whether you need to become Personal Representative in order to pursue this or not is unclear. Since this would not have been an estate asset in the first place, I would think that you can deal with the estate without needing to go to probate. But it is my guess that you may need an attorney to help you navigate this, as well. If the State does not provide you with a solution, then you are going to need help.

    Best of luck to you!

    James Frederick

    I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice... more

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