Home > Long Lost Relatives > Tracing Beneficiaries

Tracing Beneficiaries

By: Robin Mizell - Updated: 26 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Unclaimed Assets Unclaimed Benefits

Everyone occasionally fantasizes about being the recipient of an unexpected inheritance. For many of us the discovery of even a modest sum in a neglected bank account following a distant relative’s death would be a welcome windfall. But, what happens if the intended recipients are unaware of the existence of the funds and efforts to locate beneficiaries are ineffective?Unclaimed assets can exist in the form of trusts, pension fund payments and surpluses, insurance payments, court awards, investment shares and dividends, lottery prizes, security deposits, dormant accounts, and other holdings. Beneficiaries may also be due property that goes unclaimed.

Locating missing heirs and beneficiaries on behalf of financial trustees is a profitable business for private investigators and probate genealogists, who sometimes charge a percentage of the funds due to the beneficiary. Occasionally, however, the value of a benefit is insufficient to warrant paying an investigator or genealogist to locate the intended recipient.A trustee or fiduciary is only obligated to make reasonable and diligent efforts to contact beneficiaries. When such efforts are unsuccessful, funds can remain unclaimed, yet they remain the property of the original owner or the owner’s legal heirs with no time limit. Although the unclaimed funds may be dispersed after a lengthy waiting period, the rights of the owner or the owner’s heirs remain in effect, and the funds can still be legally claimed.

Finding Evidence of Existing Benefits

A will is the first document many potential beneficiaries seek for information. The solicitor who prepares a will retains a copy. In addition to solicitors, personal financial advisors and accountants often possess detailed financial statements for their clients.

To locate potential sources of benefits, you can also search for policies, records, statements, cheques, or electronic payments issued by or made payable to:

  • Insurance companies
  • An employer’s pension fund, group life insurance policy, or benevolent association
  • Retirement savings or investment accounts
  • Investment shares and funds (such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds) or the broker or financial advisor who handled their purchase
  • Banks and other financial institutions, including accounts accessed only through the Internet
  • Associations that may have offered life insurance or accidental death insurance to members and can refer you to the insurance carrier
  • Automobile clubs providing insurance coverage
  • A credit card account used to purchase airline tickets, which may have provided insurance to the purchaser in the event of a plane crash
  • Credit or mortgage life insurance carriers

Inquire About Unclaimed Benefits

If you believe a financial institution or organization might be holding funds you can rightfully claim, you can contact the company directly.

If you have only a vague idea of the type of business or agency that might be holding unclaimed assets you could claim, you can attempt to trace the funds for free through:

  • NationalSavings.co.uk
  • BBA.org.uk
  • ThePensionService.gov.uk
  • BSA.org.uk

Experian, the credit reporting agency, offers a fee-based service called the Unclaimed Assets Register, which is a large database of unclaimed fund records. The Unclaimed Assets Register might be helpful if you don’t know where to begin your search.

There are many other research service providers and probate genealogists that offer to trace unclaimed benefits for a fee. Before engaging their services, you should compare costs, research the company’s reputation, and read the fine print.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Lucifer
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I wanna join you, , , iam a killing machine and willing to die in the battle field
    28 June 2020
  • Apola
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I certainly thought this would have at least any older people to leave a comment, but all I see is preteens being desperate to be an agent. Just…
    23 May 2020
  • riama
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I'm a 12 year old girl and have always been interested in joining SIS/MI6. I would like to find out what the GCSE requirements are so I can work…
    29 April 2020
  • Blinkers
    Re: How to Join MI6
    Joined the Cyprus army at the age of 18, i may bot be the smartest person in the room but my i can be very street smart. i feel like i could be at…
    24 April 2020
  • Dead
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I want to join MI6 please fams, don't have ID though.. Immortal on a good day, 5ft 500pounds speaks dog language, i have some people ide like to…
    4 February 2020
  • Fruits
    Re: How to Join MI6
    Hi im a 12 year old girl and i am really interested in MI6, Ive always wanted to join and be a spy doing secret missions.The thing that inspired me…
    27 December 2019
  • TomCallan
    Re: How to Join MI6
    Y’all aren’t the most perceptive people are you? First things first, you need to be at least 17 and a half to apply and have full British…
    22 September 2019
  • healer
    Re: How to Join MI6
    Hi Im healer and please take me I will do all the missions and I will always follow the orders please take me Thank you!
    11 August 2019
  • Black Mafia
    Re: How to Join MI6
    I'm 13 I live in Nigeria I've lived in the US and I want to join the MI6 so madly I spy on little people please give me the opportunity to work…
    10 August 2019
  • Gonaburst
    Re: How to Join MI6
    So i am a 12 year old girl and i really want to become part of the MI6 any time soon probably at the age of 14 however i dont know how to sigh up…
    2 July 2019