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How to check for assets in unexpected places

On Behalf of | Jan 28, 2022 | Estate Administration And Probate |

Your parent may ask you to serve as the executor for his or her estate. As executor, you will be responsible for passing your parent’s assets to heirs after your mother or father has died. If you agree to the request, you should know how to locate your parent’s assets when the time comes to take up the duties of your parent’s executor.

Ideally, your parent would provide you with a list of assets and their corresponding locations. Still, it is possible your family member may forget where something valuable is. This is why you should be thorough to the point of considering unexpected locations when you try to locate your parent’s assets.

Check the home of your parent

In the event you put up your parent’s home for sale, be sure to go through each room carefully. U.S. News and World Report explains that sometimes people stash away assets in hiding places. The article mentions instances where individuals discovered a decedent’s assets in places like a bread box or the back of a sock drawer.

Remember that valuable assets such as stock certificates or property deeds are small and are easy to hide. So it may not be enough to move out your parent’s furniture before selling the home. You would probably have to pull out the drawers and check underneath them or inside the furniture for hidden documents. Also consider combing through places like the attic, in closets, a den or a basement if the home has one.

Be aware of unclaimed property

In some instances, a person loses or does not claim property and it ends up in the hands of the government. The government will hold on to the property until someone claims it. Under these circumstances, the government has escheated the property. Common examples of escheated property include safe deposit box contents, uncollected wages, insurance benefits, and stocks and bonds.

You may find out if your parent has any unclaimed property by checking California’s unclaimed property website. If your parent does have escheated property, the state should allow you as the executor to take possession of the assets. Taking steps to look for assets in unexpected places may help you realize your parent’s wishes to the fullest extent possible.